* Givaudan stake sale at price range of CHF 1,150-1,170 -
* Acquired the 10 percent stake in 2002 through sale of FIS
* Givaudan shares up 153 percent since Jan. 2002
By Caroline Copley and Blaise Robinson
ZURICH/PARIS, Dec 6 Nestle was selling
its 10 percent stake in Swiss fragrance and flavour maker
Givaudan on Friday for as much as 1.08 billion Swiss
francs ($1.20 billion), as it concentrates resources on its core
The world's biggest food group cut its sales outlook earlier
this year and said it would dispose of underperforming
businesses to slim down its sprawling portfolio which spans
Perrier bottled water, KitKat chocolate and Gerber baby food.
"Nestle is confirming its intention of better allocating its
capital," said Vontobel analyst Jean-Philippe Bertschy.
The proceeds could be used for bolt-on acquisitions or a
share buyback, said Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox.
There has also been market speculation in recent months
about whether Nestle will sell a 30 percent stake it has in the
world's biggest cosmetics firm, L'Oreal, when
restrictions on selling it loosen in April 2014.
"Additionally, investors might now see a disposal of the
L'Oreal stake as more likely," said Helvea analyst Andreas von
Shares of L'Oreal were up 3.2 percent at 126.30 euros.
Last month, Nestle sold the bulk of its Jenny Craig
weight-loss business and sources familiar with the matter have
told Reuters Nestle is looking for a buyer for its PowerBar
Traders on Friday said the sale of the Givaudan stake,
managed by Goldman Sachs through an accelerated book
building, was being offered at a price range of 1,150-1,170
Swiss francs a share, valuing the entire stake at as much as
1.08 billion Swiss francs ($1.20 billion).
That would mean the placement was done at a 5.3-7.0 percent
discount to Thursday's closing price of 1,236 francs. Givaudan
shares fell as much as 5.3 percent in early trade on Friday and
were down 3.6 percent at 1,191 francs at 1017 GMT.
Shares of Nestle, which said in October it had a list of
brands that have underperformed for too long and need to be
sold, were up 1.3 percent at 65.35 Swiss francs at 1012.
Nestle acquired the stake in Givaudan, one of its suppliers,
11 years ago as part of a deal to sell Givaudan its food
ingredient company FIS for 750 million francs in cash and stock.
The move was also strategic, in helping to prevent a
takeover of Givaudan, which was founded in the late 19th century
and spun off from Swiss pharmaceuticals group Roche in
Today it is the world's top supplier of fragrances, extracts
and flavourings with customers ranging from soup and soap maker
Unilever to perfume makers like Dior and
Its shares have gained 153 percent since the FIS sale was
announced in Jan. 2002.
"Nestlé has been very satisfied with its holding but
believes now is the appropriate time to divest," it said in a
Nestle is the second biggest shareholder in Givaudan with a
10.03 percent stake as of 27 November. U.S. billionaire Bill
Gates is the top shareholder with 10.3 percent.