MADRID, Sept 27 The Chinese group that inherited
the largest single stake in Spanish food company Campofrio
plans to sell enough shares to avoid making a forced
takeover, though some analysts viewed the move merely as a
Shuanghui International Holdings inherited 37
percent of Campofrio on Thursday's completion of its $4.7
billion purchase of U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods
and under Spanish securities law has three months to launch a
full takeover bid or cut its stake to less than 30 percent.
The Chinese company's announcement on Friday that it intends
to take the latter route limits the prospects of a takeover in
the near term and sent Campofrio's shares down 4 percent.
Yet analysts at Portuguese bank BPI said that Shuanghui
could simply be buying time to assess the outcome of a Campofrio
restructuring and the integration of Smithfield.
"We see this merely as a delay of the M&A angle ... that
should materialise at some point in the future," BPI said in a
research note, adding that it does not rule out another party
trying to buy Campofrio in the meantime.
BPI noted that investment management firm Oaktree Capital
, which owns 24 percent of Campofrio, should be a seller
at the right price and that Campofrio is the main meat processor
in Europe, offering strategic interest for other global meat
After a drawn-out economic crisis during which foreign
investors shunned Spanish assets, a number of overseas buyers
are starting to close deals in Spain, drawn by bargains and
predictions that the country is emerging from five years of
Colombian financier Jaime Gilinski recently committed to
becoming the biggest shareholder of Spanish bank Sabadell
and China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, told Spanish
news agency EFE this week that his next investment targets were
Belgium and Spain.
Spain's Economy Ministry says that Hong Kong invested a
total of 236 million euros in Spain the first six months of
2013, up from 40 million euros in the same period last year.
OECD data shows that China spent $124 million on direct
investment in Spain in 2011, up from $6.2 million in 2005.
The purchase of Smithfield, which aims to satisfy China's
increasing appetite for pork, is the biggest acquisition of a
U.S. business by a Chinese company. Including debt, the deal is
valued at $7.1 billion.
Campofrio shares were down 4.4 percent at 5.45 euros by 0929