Stork's shareholders today consider a proposal to sell off parts of the company, including itsfood processing division.
The proposed sell off, if it occurs, would mean the transfer of all contracts currently held byprocessors to the new owners.
The management of Netherlands-based Stork is attempting to fight off the proposal, which was madeby Centaurus Capital and Paulson & Co., large shareholders who want the company to concentratesolely on its aerospace division. The two investors own about 33 per cent of Stork.
The decision on the proposal will be voted on today at a special general meeting of shareholders,called by the two investment funds. The proposal calls for the sell off of Stork's prints, technicalservices and food processing divisions.
Management has said any shareholder instruction to break-up Stork was non binding as only theyhave the authority to determine strategy.
Stork's food systems division accounts for 16 per cent of the company's net turnover. Thedivision had a net turnover of €157m in the first half of this year, compared to €110.9m duringthe same period last year. Operating income was €13.9m, compared to €11.3m over the same period.
In the company's second quarter report, management said it is continuing to invest in marketingits co-extrusion machines. A new ACM-NT system,
which is being marketed as a faster way to portion white meat, and its ValueDrum, an in line batch marinating system forchicken and other meat products, have both been gaining recognition in Europe, the company reported.
Stork's food and dairy systems unit became part of the Stork food systems unit on 30 June. Thecompany made additional investments in its food and dairy systems to beef up its product portfolio.
"The past quarter saw extra investments in product development," the companyreported. "The order book showed the first positive effects of this. An order was received from Hero for a third aseptic filling line toenhance production capacity for their successful Fruit2Day product range."
Earlier this year Stork acquired Townsend, a meat processing equipment maker in the US, as part of its growth strategy. In September the company acquired Nijal Technologie Alimentaire, a processing machine maker in France. The acquisition is part of the company's bid to become a bigger supplier to the meat industry.
Nijal produces equipment for the high-speed production of shish kebabs, sandwiches, meatballs, formed ground meat products and sausages. It also produces equipment for denesting trays and automatic tray loading.
Stork group is headquartered in the Netherlands.