US food giant H J Heinz is considering a €450 million ($543m; £306m) offer for its European seafood operations from investment bankers Lehman Brothers. It intends to focus on its flagship ketchup, babyfoods and canned food brands.

Heinz placed its weaker European businesses under the hammer last year [WAMN: 22-Sept-06] and has already sold its Dutch vegetables and New Zealand poultry units.

The Lehman Brothers bid would see Heinz executives running the business, including current European seafood ceo Adolfo Valsecchi with David Williams, a former chief, as chairman.

The latter believes Heinz's brands, which include John West in the UK and Petit Navire in France, can be expanded into new categories, such as chilled foods.

Comments Williams: "This is a business with premier brands and nutritional products that fit in well with today's lifestyle."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff