Business briefs: Findus | ECB | Manufacturers funding

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FINDUS, the frozen food giant hit by the horsemeat scandal, is this week expected to launch a £410 million bond in an effort to improve its balance sheet.

The deal is being assembled by investment banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. The finance would replace some of Findus’ debt, which was put in place as part of a financial restructuring last year and which expires in several tranches between 2015 and 2016.

The UK-based group’s shareholders include JP Morgan, hedge fund Highbridge Capital, private equity firms Lion Capital and Northwestern Mutual Capital.

• There is no limit to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond-buying programme, a spokesman for the bank said yesterday, denying a German newspaper report published in the run-up to a court hearing on the scheme.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung yesterday cited central bank sources as saying the ECB had set a limit of €524 billion (£446bn) on the Outright Monetary Transactions scheme. The bank had also had informed Germany’s constitutional court of that limit, the newspaper had claimed.

• Manufacturers are increasingly turning away from external funding to grow their businesses, a survey found, despite tentative signs that the cost of credit is easing.

Nearly 52 per cent of firms polled by manufacturers’ organisation EEF for its quarterly credit conditions survey said they had no need to borrow to support their business, a record high.

Industry turning its back on sources of credit would be bad news for the UK government and the Bank of England, which are trying to stimulate lending to small businesses.