Global Finance to take Nikas stake

The Greek private equity firm has agreed to pay E60m for a controlling interest in Nikas, an Athens-listed meat processing business.

Global Finance, the Greek private equity house, has reached agreement with Athens-listed meat processing company Nikas in a deal which will see Global acquire a near 50 per cent interest in the business.

Global Finance will pay just over E60m for a 49.92 per cent stake in the business, which will remain listed on the Athens Stock Exchange after completion of the deal, due to the difficulty in securing 95 per cent of the company’s shares, the level required to complete a de-listing  from the Athens Stock Market.

The majority shareholder in Nikas, Panagiotis Nikas, is selling his stake in the business which produces cold meat products, as part of plans to scale down his association with the firm.

“Mr Nikas is looking for a smooth transition in ownership for the business, which has a strong brand and is a household name in its local market,” said Theodore Kiakidis, investment director at Global Finance. “Global Finance was selected as preferred bidder after several firms were contacted about taking a stake in Nikas.”

Panagiotis Nikas established the company in 1966. The company produces and exports more than 300 different types of meat products to the Balkans and the Middle East. It has three main production units and employs over 700 people. Nikas was listed on the Athens Stock Exchange in 1991. The deal is expected to close in mid-December.

The investment by Global Finance originates from the firm’s Global Capital Investors II (GCI II) fund, which closed on E200m in April 2000. The generalist fund, which invests in minority and buyout opportunities in Greece and Western Europe, is expected to be fully invested by mid-2004. The firm has also raised two Eastern European funds, EuroMerchant Balkan Fund and Black Sea Fund with combined capital of $90m, which focus on opportunities in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Russia.

According to Kiakidis, the firm has seen a sharp increase in activity since the summer, both in terms of the number and quality of deals. “Until July, the market was very slow, but things have taken off since then. There has also been an improvement in the quality of deals coming to market.” Kiakidis added that the firm was close to completing additional deals in Spain and Belgium, although he declined to disclose further details.