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British firm bids for Selecta

Britain's Compass group is bidding for Selecta, Europe's largest snack vending retailer


Britain's Compass Group has made an offer to take over the Swiss company, Selecta, the largest snack-vending retailer in Europe. If successful, the bid would leave the firm in wholly foreign hands.

Compass is offering to pay SFr540 ($327) per share to take control of the two thirds of the enterprise it doesn't already own.

The news sent Selecta's share price rocketing by nearly 28 per cent on the Zurich Stock Exchange to SFr530 per share on Monday.

The friendly cash offer by one of the world's largest catering businesses is worth just over SFr900 million and values Selecta at about SFr1.35 billion.

Analysts have broadly welcomed the news.

Selecta employs 4,000 people worldwide, 1,000 of them in Switzerland. The company's CEO, This Schneider, told swissinfo that all jobs were safe and that more should be created if the deal goes through.

"We have complementary activities and this development should lead to more growth and more positions."

Compass has long had its eyes on the Swiss market. It took a 20 per cent share in Selecta when the company entered the stock market in 1997 and increased its participation to 33 per cent two years later.

The current deal depends on Selecta shareholders agreeing to remove existing statutory limits on the number of shares one investor can hold.

Selecta is the European market leader in providing food and beverages services through vending machines. It serves over two million customers daily through 65,000 points of sale in places such as railway stations, airports and petrol stations.

swissinfo with agencies


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