Tuesday 26 March 2019

A lot of lolly: Valeo buying UK sweets firm for £100m

Tangerine’s Dip Dab brand
Tangerine’s Dip Dab brand
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Valeo Foods, the Irish food business owned by Seamus Fitzpatrick's CapVest, is buying a UK confectionery business for more than £100m (€112m).

The purchase of Tangerine Confectionery will see famous sweet brands like Dip Dab, Fruit Salad and Blackjack come under Valeo's control.

It already has Fox's Glacier Mints and Poppets in its portfolio after buying a confectionery business called Big Bear from Finnish company Raisio.

Sky News, which reported the Valeo-Tangerine deal, said it was likely that the Big Bear and Tangerine businesses would be combined.

The seller of Tangerine is private equity giant Blackstone. Valeo declined to comment.

The deal will bring Valeo's annual revenues up to some €900m. The company owns food brands across Europe, with Balconi in Italy in its portfolio alongside, Odlums, Batchelors, Kelkin, Robert Roberts and others.

CapVest has a majority stake in the business via a fund it manages known as CapVest Fund II. That fund also had CapVest's interest in the Mater Private which was recently sold to Infravia. CapVest is currently raising a fourth fund known as Fund IV for which it is looking to raise in the region of €1bn. It has reportedly attracted a number of US pension funds to the table for that fund. Its investment strategy has typically focused on so-called non-discretionary sectors like food and healthcare. The idea is that these are areas for which there will always be demand because of the nature of the products.

Mr Fitzpatrick recently executed a deal whereby investors in Fund II were offered the chance to sell their interests to US private equity business. Investors were being offered the chance to roll their interests over into a new vehicle, designed to maximise the value of the fund's remaining assets - the Mater stake which has now been sold, and the Valeo stake.

Other companies in Mayfair-based CapVest's past or present portfolio include Punch Taverns, pork producer Karro, and coffee distributor United Coffee.

Belturbet man Mr Fitzpatrick was ranked 144th on the 'Sunday Independent' 2018 Rich List, with a fortune of €107m.

Irish Independent

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