On the Street -- Pallas for Sysco

April 1/The Irish Times -- Pallas Foods, a food distributor in Ireland, has been sold for an undisclosed fee to international food group Sysco.

Pallas is owned and run by the Geary family and had annual revenues of 155 million euros in 2008. The company supplies and distributes cooked, uncooked, chilled and frozen foods to catering outlets in the Republic and Northern Ireland. It has eight operating depots across Ireland.

The company supplies a range of businesses including smaller supermarkets, hotels, hospitals, restaurants and coffee shops.

Tim Geary founded Pallas in the 1980s, and he and three of his sons are company directors and on the management team. A fourth son also works for the company. The company employs 500 people.

Commercial director Tadhg Geary said Sysco was the right fit for Pallas, as it is purely a foodservice company and therefore different to the numerous other buyout offers the company received in recent years.

"From all the stakeholders' points of view, it was the right thing to do. There comes a time in a family business when you have to decide if you are going to exit or not. This is the right thing for us, for Pallas and for the employees," Geary said.

He said Pallas was Sysco's first acquisition outside North America and was made after considering more than 120 companies. He said the takeover would have no impact on staff. All senior executives of Pallas have signed long-term employment contracts with Sysco. Ken Spitler, Sysco's vice chairman, said in a statement the acquisition would allow Sysco to "explore international growth with a well-regarded team that provides the high-quality service standards that Sysco customers are accustomed to."

The deal does not include related companies, including Pallas Foods Manufacturing and Pallas Foods (Research) Ltd., which are controlled by common directors.  

From the April 13, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition