13 March 1998

Dalgety to hive off ag supplies

ONCE mighty food and agribusiness giant Dalgety is in talks to sell off its agricultural supplies division to a management buy-out.

The news comes only a few weeks after the company sold its food ingredients division for £360m and Spillers Petfoods for £715m. Total disposals since September total £1.04bn net of tax and costs, of which £650m will be paid to shareholders.

Paul Kirk, chief executive of the agricultural supplies division, is believed to be putting a bid together for the business, which is understood to be worth £50m. The Dalgety name may be included.

The division made an operating profit of almost £23m in 1995/96. But it crashed to a loss of £200,000 the following year as BSE and the slump in farm incomes resulted in a 27% drop in sales. This year, a £5-6m profit is predicted. &#42