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PinguinLutosa Gains on Offers for Potato Unit: Brussels Mover

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- PinguinLutosa NV, the Belgian producer of frozen vegetables, rose the most in almost three years in Brussels trading after saying it received unsolicited non-binding offers for its potato division.

The shares climbed as much as 91 cents, or 11 percent, to 8.90 euros, the biggest intraday percentage increase since Aug. 10, 2009. The stock, up 19 percent this year, traded at 8.90 euros at 10:53 a.m. local time, valuing the company at 146.5 million euros. PinguinLutosa bought the potato business in 2007 for 175 million euros in cash.

PinguinLutosa’s board and management will “carefully” consider the offers, exploring the merits and risks for stakeholders, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. Further announcements will be made if and when appropriate, PinguinLutosa said.

Dutch potato group Aviko is one of several companies interested in buying the potato business, De Standaard reported today, citing PinguinLutosa Chairman Luc Van Nevel. The company will make a decision at its next board meeting, according to the newspaper. No one in Aviko’s press office was available to immediately comment.

“A sale of the potato division of PinguinLutosa would be a major game changer,” Pascale Weber, an analyst at KBC Securities in Brussels who recommends investors accumulate the stock, wrote in a note to clients today. “Only a sufficiently high bid would justify such a change.”

PinguinLutosa is the fifth-biggest in the industry, with the top three players being McCain Foods Ltd., Lamb Weston and Aviko, Weber wrote in the note.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at

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