City & Corporate: Pelham called in to handle Birds Eye brief

Birds Eye Iglo Group has handed a financial and corporate comms brief to Pelham Bell Pottinger, as its private equity owners explore exit options for the frozen food company.

BEIG is the largest frozen foods business in Europe, famous for product lines including Birds Eye Fish Fingers and Field Fresh Frozen Peas.

The firm is owned by private equity giant Permira.

A sale or float is not understood to be planned in the near term, although the agency's brief is based on preparing the ground for a future exit.

BEIG completed the acquisition of Findus Italy in October last year to reunite the former Unilever Frozen Food Company.

Pelham Bell Pottinger has now been tasked with a Europe-wide comms brief to make the firm better understood by the business community and stress the group's CSR and health credentials.

Pelham won a three-way competitive pitch for the business against a shortlist thought to have included Finsbury and Maitland.

The account is led by Pelham director Gavin Davis and associate director Tristan Peniston-Bird, reporting directly to BEIG CEO Martin Glenn.

The agency will look to educate European business audiences about the progress BEIG has made since it was bought by Permira in 2006 and its subsequent return to profitability.

The firm has been increasingly keen to stress the health credentials of frozen foods and dispel preconceptions, particularly in the UK, that frozen products are old-fashioned and less healthy than other foods.

BEIG has already embarked on a major consumer push around sustainability and CSR, supported by Freud Communications, and will now target business stakeholders.

BEIG was sold by Unilever to Permira Funds in November 2006 for EUR1.8bn.

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