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France backs consortium bid for Doux

The French government is supporting a consortium led by French oilseed giant Sofiprotéol to bid for the ailing Doux group.

Reuters, citing French daily Le Figaro, reports that Sofiproteol could lead a French consortium to make an offer for the entire group, according to Le Figaro’s unnamed sources.

Sofiprotéol, which - in addition to oilseed processing - is also active in the animal feed, egg and pig breeding industries, was not immediately available for a comment.

A deadline for takeover bids for Doux expires this afternoon.

The family-owned firm went into administration at the start of June with debt of 340 million euros ($423 million), putting at risk 3,400 staff and about 800 poultry farmers in France.

Its plight has prompted the intervention of France's new Socialist government, which is trying to avoid a wave of factory closures after unemployment hit its highest level since 1999.

Doux, 80 percent family-owned, with the remainder held by French bank BNP Paribas, has contracts with some 800 poultry breeders in addition to the 3,400 staff it employs in France.

Source: Reuters

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