November 24, 2015 / 9:51 AM / 4 years ago

Thai Union expects decision on Bumble Bee acquisition on Dec. 18

BANGKOK, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Thai Union Group (TU), the world’s largest canned tuna producer, said on Tuesday it expects U.S. authorities to rule on Dec. 18 on whether its proposed acquisition of rival Bumble Bee Seafoods will be approved.

If the Bumble Bee deal goes through, TU will divest its holding in its Chicken of the Sea brand, TUF’s Chief Executive Officer Thirapong Chansiri told a news conference, adding that the firm has prepared potential buyers for Chicken of the Sea.

TU has set an investment budget of 3.5 billion baht ($97.74 million) for 2016, not including mergers and acquisitions, Thirapong said.

TU expects growth of 4 to 10 percent in 2015 and to achieve full-year revenue of 120 billion baht ($3.35 billion), he said.

The U.S. market is the company’s biggest, contributing 42 percent of sales in the first nine months and 30 percent from Europe. Chicken of the Sea is the third-largest tuna brand in the United States.

TU is on track to achieve a sales target of $8 billion in 2020 through acquisitions and organic, or self-generated, growth, Thiraphong said.

$1 = 35.8100 baht Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Jacqueline Wong

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