UK – Mitsubishi Corp. has appointed an M&A adviser at Houlihan Lokey to handle a sale process for its UK food-and-beverage subsidiary Princes when the final decision will be made, according to financial-markets news publication Debtwire.

Mitsubishi acquired the Liverpool-headquartered company, which is based at the city’s iconic Royal Liver Building, in 1989.

At the time of acquisition, Princes focused on the import and distribution of shelf-stable food but has since expanded also into Edible Oils and beverages.

Among Princes’ assets are shares in Edible Oils, a UK-based supplier of bottled edible oils. Princes co-owns the business through a joint venture with agri-food group ADM. Edible Oils has three production facilities.

The international food and drink group has two food factories and three beverage production sites in the UK. The company also has a tomato-processing facility in Italy and a tuna-processing site in Mauritius.

In the year to 31 March 2022, the company generated revenue of GBP1.44bn (US$1.76bn), down 8% on the previous 12 months, according to a filing with the UK’s Companies House made last week.

Princes said it was lapping “an exceptional increase” in revenue booked the year earlier when Covid-19 boosted demand.

Profit for the year attributable to the owners of the company halved, falling from GBP34.8m to GBP17.2m. Princes pointed to lower sales volumes, higher tax expenses, and a boost to the previous year’s profits from an asset sale.

According to new documents seen by BusinessLive, the food giant undertook a cut of more than 300 jobs during its latest financial year as a result of site closures.

A statement signed off by the board said: “The directors aim to maintain the management policies which have resulted in the group’s growth in recent years and to invest in projects that will drive improved profitability.

“…Princes has no delays in any ongoing capital or restructuring projects as a result of the pandemic as it had been classified as essential work due to being related to the supply of food and drink.”

Cameron Mackintosh, managing director at Princes added that over the past year, the group has concluded major investment programmes across our UK sites, made significant advancements in its sustainability and innovation journeys, and evolved people policies.

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