Sofiproteol Leads French Group Offering to Buy Doux Assets

Sofiproteol SA, France’s largest oilseed crusher, is leading a group of French companies seeking to buy the assets of Doux SA, Europe’s largest poultry processor, said Philippe Tillous-Borde, adviser to Sofiproteol’s chairman.

Partners include agricultural cooperatives Terrena and Triskalia, closely held companies Duc and Glon Sanders, as well as poultry processors Tilly-Sabco and LDC SA, Tillous-Borde said in a conference call today. He declined to give the value of the offer or say how the bid will be structured.

“It’s really a coordinated offer, it’s not a consortium with a holding that will take over everything together,” Tillous-Borde said. The offer was made to Doux’s court-appointed administrator today, the board adviser said.

Doux was placed under court administration on June 1 by the court of Quimper in Brittany. The company had sales of 1.41 billion euros ($1.75 billion) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 137.4 million euros in 2010, the most recent year for which Doux published figures on its website.

The offer seeks to bring all of Doux’s businesses under management of the companies making the offer, Tillous-Borde said. The group is seeking to buy assets, and doesn’t plan to renegotiate Doux’s debt with creditors including Barclays Plc, according to the adviser.

Doux’s assets in Brazil are not part of the offer, according to Tillous-Borde. JBS SA said in May it is leasing Brazilian plants from Doux and has an option to buy them.

With the offer, the companies are seeking to structure the French poultry industry and improve its competitiveness, according to a statement by Sofiproteol. France is the European Union’s second-largest poultry exporter after the Netherlands, International Trade Centre data show.

Poultry imports by France have more than doubled in the past 10 years and now account for 42 percent of domestic consumption, Sofiproteol said.

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