Tuesday 17 July 2018

€140m food deals wrapped up in pre-Christmas M&A spree

Valeo CEO Seamus Kearney
Valeo CEO Seamus Kearney
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Valeo Foods Group has agreed to buy the confectionery division of Raisio for a total enterprise value of €100m, while separately, Irish chocolate maker Lily O'Brien's was sold to a Polish buyer yesterday.

Following its latest acquisition, Valeo Foods will have annual sales of approximately €800m. It already owns food brands including Jacobs and home-baking brand Odlums.

Meanwhile, Lily O'Brien's, which makes premium chocolates and desserts, has agreed its sale to Warsaw stock exchange listed Colian Holding for €40m on a debt-free, cash-free basis.

It's being sold by the private equity backed Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund (CCI) and members of the management team.

CCI, a joint venture between US private equity group Carlyle and Dublin-based Cardinal Capital, acquired a majority stake in Lily O'Brien's of around 80pc in 2014 for a rumoured €15m.

Founder Mary Ann O'Brien, retained a significant minority stake alongside CEO Eoin Donnelly. Colian owns a number of brands its home market, as well as UK chocolate brand, Elizabeth Shaw.

Meanwhile, CapVest-owned Valeo's latest acquisition has combined annualised sales of approximately €100m, and employs over 1,000 people. It owns a portfolio of confectionery brands include Fox's Glacier Mints, XXX Mints and Poppets.

"The acquisition of these food businesses is consistent with Valeo Foods' strategic focus and we are very excited about the opportunities for growth.

"We look forward to working with our new colleagues as we pursue our ambitious plans for our high-performing and expanding international portfolio of favourite food brands," said Seamus Kearney, CEO of Valeo Foods, and previously chief operating officer at Aer Lingus.

The Raisio transaction is the ninth major acquisition for Valeo Foods since it was established in 2010.

Since then Valeo Foods has expanded rapidly, not just geographically, but also across food categories, and in terms of sale volumes, with sales in over 80 countries.

Its brands include Balconi in Italy; Rowse in the UK; Batchelors and Odlums at home; and Robert Roberts and Kelkin.

Irish Independent

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