News briefs: InBev, Greencore and Friesland Foods

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Financial times

This week, InBev outlines financing plans for its Anheseur-Busch
bid, Friesland Foods sells off a juice arm to focus on core brands
and Greencore says it has uncovered fraud in its mineral water
business.

InBev details finance capabilities ​ InBev continues to play the role of pen pal to potential acquisition target Anheseur-Busch after sending a third letter to the US-based brewer this week over its financing plan for the bid. In a letter written to the Budweiser brewer's board, InBev's Carlos Brito claimed that the company has already provided commitment letters for some of the financing as press speculation mounts that its current $65 (€41.2)-a-share offer may be set to fail. The bid, which would value Anheuser-Busch at about $36bn (€23bn), is expected to be seen by the group's board as undervaluing its total assets, The Financial Times newspaper yesterday reported.​ Despite this speculation, the board of the US-based beermaker says that it is still considering its current options in light of InBev's advances. Under the buyout proposals, InBev said it would look to incoprate Anheseur-Busch's entire US production network into its own operations to further push Budweiser as a key brand both domestically and across the globe. Friesland to offload juice arm ​Friesland Foods said it has reached an agreement to begin talks over selling off its fruit juice-manufacturing arm to Jamaica Producers Group (JPG). The dairy group says that Hoogesteger, which it claims is the market leader for fresh juice products in the Netherlands, does not fit in with the company's core business aims and could now be offset in a matter of weeks. Should the deal move ahead, JPG, which already has a significant presence in juice production through brands like the UK's Serious Food Company, would be able to further expand into the Western European market for the product. As part of Friesland's long-term Vision 2015 strategy, the company said it is looking at strengthening its Western European focus on other parts of its health and wellness branded business instead. Greencore reveals fraud concerns ​ The Greencore Group said it has uncovered deliberate concealment of costs from within its Campsie Spring mineral water business during the 2006 and 2007 financial years. ​ The company, which purchased the brand back in 2001, said the concealment had led to a misstatement of its true financial performance over the period, which could amount to a combined €12m operating profit deficit. ​ Greencore said it had uncovered the fraud after concerns were raised during a company internal audit earlier this month. ​ The company said investigations were ongoing before it would look to start any possible proceedings against individuals or for reimbursement. "The group is taking legal advice on what, if any, elements of this financial impact can be recovered,"​ the group stated. "While the board believes this to be an isolated issue, it is conducting a thorough review (independently supported by KPMG) of all the Group's businesses and of its internal control, financial reporting and external audit processes."

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