Tomkins sells European food businesses

by Emily Wilson
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TOMKINS P.L.C. in July said it had entered into an agreement to sell its European food manufacturing business, including its RHM flour milling and baking operations, to Doughty Hanson & Co., Europe's second-largest buyout firm. The £1,139-million (U.S.$1,724-million) transaction is subject to approval by Tomkins shareholders and the European Commission.

Tomkins, which acquired the majority of its food businesses through the purchase of Ranks Hovis McDougall P.L.C. in 1992, said it plans to focus on its engineering operations.

The food businesses being acquired by Doughty Hanson include the Rank Hovis flour milling division, the British Bakeries bread business, a growing frozen bake-off venture and the Golden West Foods bun operation. Doughty Hanson said it intends to expand the RHM food businesses through growth and acquisition, leading up to an initial public offering of the company in three to five years.