November 8, 2011 / 4:59 AM / 9 years ago

Australian pet foods firm considers sale-adviser

* VIP Petfoods says it is world’s largest chilled pet food maker

* Business has been of interest to buyout firms- adviser

* Company could fetch A$450 million - report

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Australian privately owned pet food manufacturer VIP Petfoods is undergoing a strategic review of its business and is considering options including a sale, the firm’s adviser told Reuters.

VIP Petfoods, based in northern Queensland state, is family owned and has had approaches from private equity firms and trade buyers in the past, said Tim Miles, principal of Miles Advisory Partners, which is advising VIP Petfoods.

“We’re looking at what the options are that are available to the family. We may make acquisitions or we may make a sale,” Miles said in an interview.

An unsourced report in the Australian Financial Review said the business could be worth about A$450 million ($465 million), based on revenues of A$300 million.

Miles declined to comment on the value of the business or its revenues. A spokesman for VIP also declined to comment on the strategic review.

On its web site, VIP Petfoods says it is the world’s largest producer of fresh chilled pet food and exports to Canada and the United States, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. It has 600 employees.

“It is a business that has been consistently approached by private equity and competitors,” Miles said.

Australian private equity firms have a track record of investing in food manufacturing and wholesaling, including Pacific Equity Partners’ chicken business Tegel Foods, sold to Affinity Equity Partners in January, and Lazard Private Equity’s former investment in biscuit maker Unibic.

The company was founded by V8 motor racing fan Tony Quinn, and four of his adult children have management roles in the firm.

Miles Advisory has acted for many privately held companies that have eventually been sold to private equity, including V8 Supercars Australia, which sold a 60 percent stake to Archer Capital in May for A$180 million.

Other manufacturers of pet food that sell in the Australian market include Nestle and Mars Inc’s Mars Australia.

Global buyout giant TPG has an interest in pet food retail chain Pet Barn in Australia and New Zealand.

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