By Liz White, UT contributing editorMelbourne, Australia-Australian consumer products group Pacific Brands Ltd announced 2 Dec that it has started talks on acquiring the foam operations of Joyce Corp. Ltd. Pacific Brands, headquartered in Melbourne, describes itself as, "a major manager of consumer brands" including footwear, home comfort items, sportswear, hosiery and underwear. The group had 2004 profit (EBITA) of A$155.2 million ($120 million) on sales (year end 30 June) of A$1535 million.Its home comfort products include foam, bedding and carpet underlay, with turnover in this segment of some A$ 294.7 million. Pacific Brands said in its results statement that the home comforts division saw "a significant margin improvement,' to give EBITA of A$27.7 million, a 13.5 percent rise over 2003's results. Regarding the talks about Joyce, Pacific Brands said that, currently, "it is uncertain whether these discussions will result in an agreement to pursue a transaction." The group added that any transaction would be subject to various conditions, including regulatory approval.Joyce Foam Products supplies about 40 percent of the continent's foam needs. Shareholders will be kept informed of any developments from the discussions with Joyce, said a Pacific Brands statement. "