Business Irish

Monday 23 October 2017

Fitzpatrick's Capvest circles €190m Hartley's

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Capvest, the €3bn private equity firm headed by Cavan man Seamus Fitzpatrick, has been linked with a bid for €190m-valued English food company Hartley's.

Hartley's, which makes posh jams and peanut butter, is being sold off by its debt-laden owner, Premier Foods.

Capvest is thought to be in a shoot-out with US organic food group Hain Celestial, as well as four other private equity players including Morgan Stanley Private Equity, TDR Capital and HIG. Capvest declined to comment on Hartley's when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

Fitzpatrick's group has been extremely busy buying and selling companies since the economic crisis began.

Most recently, last April it offloaded its United coffee to Japanese player UCC for around €500m.

Last year the Capvest-led Valeo Foods bought Michael Carey's Jacobs Fruitfield biscuit and sweet firm, in a move which created one of the largest indigenous Irish food companies. The extended Valeo business now has Batchelors, Odlums, Roma and Erin Foods under its umbrella.

In 2007, the firm bought a majority stake in the Mater Private, in a deal that valued the hospital at over €300m.

Capvest has raised over €3bn since being established in 1999, with a large chunk of funding company from well-heeled investors put together by NCB Private clients.

The low-profile and increasingly wealthy Fitzpatrick is moving in alongside Ireland's super rich as he bought the massive Pharmaceutical Society offices on Shrewsbury Road in 2011 with plans to convert it into a family home. It is thought that he paid around €8m for the building.

Fitzpatrick is also a board member of Richard Conroy's Conroy Gold, which is developing a gold mining project in Clontibret, Co Monaghan.

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