Belfast Telegraph

Goodman doubles money with sale of Hilton Foods stake

By NICK WEBB

Larry Goodman's Co Louth food business ABP has offloaded its 6% stake in the £311m-valued FTSE-listed Hilton Food Group.

The sale, which took place some months ago, is thought to have netted ABP close to €14m (£12m).

Hilton Foods is a major specialist meat packaging business, supplying international retailers such as Tesco, Ahold, Albert Heijn and ICA, and the parent company of Hilton Meats (Retail), which employs nearly 500 people in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

ABP owns meat plants in Lurgan and Newry and is a significant player in the Northern Ireland meat industry.

In a stunning dawn raid, ABP racked up a 5.83% stake of the company two weeks after its May 2007 flotation. Goodman's empire was a major supplier of meat to be packaged by the company.

Goodman is likely to have almost doubled his money on the deals. However, ABP has missed out on the recent spike in Hilton Food Group's share price, which hit an all-time high last Friday, touching 440p per share.

The bulk of Goodman's estimated €700m (£601m) fortune comes from his role as one of the biggest meat processors in Europe. The Hilton foods stake was one of the few known investments in a public company by the media-shy beef magnate. Goodman's Parma investment vehicle is one of the largest shareholders in the waste to bread group One51.

Goodman is better known for his property investments. Last Christmas, he splashed out €40m (£34m) to buy the Bank of Ireland headquarters building on Baggot Street in Dublin. It is believed up to €30m (£26m) will be spent refurbishing the complex, with the likes of Facebook and KPMG linked as potential tenants. During the boom, developers paid €212m (£182m) for the building.

Goodman's property empire also includes commercial buildings in Dublin including the Setanta Centre on Nassau Street.

Belfast Telegraph

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