17 April 1998
Hillsdown ‘scratching its head’ over strategy

HILLSDOWN – the food and furniture conglomerate – will release its new strategy to improve shareholder value in the next few weeks.

The Financial Times says the promise of a far-reaching plan to lift the companys share price could raised expectations that could prove hard to fulfil. It claims directors are still “scratching their heads” over what action to take even though advisers are believed to have presented the board with options.

The company is thought likely to dispose of its non-food activities in the near future.

The article says other potential disposals might include the companys potato business which could quite possibly be sold to management. The newspaper says the poultry division might be worth keeping alongside the “duller” commodity business. The Ross breeders genetics business is mentioned which has been likened to Dalgetys attractive pig improvement activities.

Analysts do not think a break-up value much higher than the current share price could be achieve.

The Financial Times speculates that the company might have to opt for the sale or floatation of the non-food activities in the immediate term with a promise to tidy up the food business later.

Former Hillsdown deputy chairman John Jackson received a £792,000 payout after leaving last year. He was also paid salary and benefits of £40,000 taking his total remuneration package to £832,000.

  • The Times 17/04/98 page 27
  • The Guardian 17/04/98 page 25
  • Financial Times 17/04/98 page 22