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Yildiz to float food giant in UK by 2020

Press AssociationPress Association 7/06/2016

The owner of McVitie's biscuits and Jacob's crackers is to create a food industry giant worth $US5.2 billion ($A6.97 billion), with plans to float it on the London Stock Market by 2020.

Yildiz Holding is launching a new global confectionery and biscuits company called Pladis by combining United Biscuits, Godiva Chocolatier, Ulker and DeMet's Candy Company.

Cema Karakas, Pladis chief executive, said the firm would now embark on a bold growth strategy - including expanding McVitie's products into new global markets and entering the UK's premium chocolate industry - as it targets a London listing within the next four years.

"The idea of bringing these businesses together came right before we purchased United Biscuits. We have been the fastest growing confectionery and biscuit maker for several years," Karakas said.

"Now we want to strengthen this growth trajectory and we thought it would be best done by marrying all of the brands into a single company."

He said the newly combined company will use its global distribution network to bolster McVitie's presence in America and push it into the Middle East, Turkey, China, Australia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

It also wants to establish a foothold in the UK's premium chocolate industry by 2017, launching products under the Godiva brand.

It said the moves were part of wider ambitions to become the "number one player" in the Middle East by 2020 and the second biggest company within its field in Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, Karakas said the firm would need to prove its growth strategy is working and was successfully expanding products into new global markets before it could embark on an initial public offering.

"As one global family, we can be more agile, allowing us to innovate around our products and develop more brand synergies - which are already benefiting our business."

He added that the firm had no current plans to snap up any other food businesses, but said it was on the look out for deals which would help it "get access to smaller geographies".

He said once Pladis floated it would be a "unique food company within the FTSE 100".

The combination of the four firms will create a food industry heavyweight with 36 factories in 13 countries, employing 26,000 people including 5,000 in the UK.

United Biscuits brands include McVitie's, Jacob's, Go Ahead and Carr's. The company was bought by Yildiz Holding in November 2014.

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