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Capvest baron Fitzpatrick bags €236m-a-year crisp company


Richard Conroy

Richard Conroy

Richard Conroy

CAVAN private equity baron Seamus Fitzpatrick has bought €236m-a-year Norwegian crisp-maker and food firm Scandza, after backing a management buyout through his Mayfair-based Capvest fund.

No financial terms about the deal were disclosed. Scandza's founders, Jan Bodd and Stig Sunde, will still head the business they started in 2007. As part of the deal, they have also increased their shareholding in the company.

The company, which makes chilled foods, snacks and baked goods, had a turnover of €236m last year and owns Norway's second-largest potato chip producer, Sorlandschips.

Fitzpatrick set up Capvest in 1999 and has raised over €3bn from investors for a number of high-profile buyouts. The company doubled its money when buying the Findus frozen food business for €750m, flipping it for €1.5bn a few years later.

The group was also an investor in the €350m deal to buy out the Mater Private hospital, as well as being a key player in the €200m creation of Valeo foods, which brought brands such as Jacobs Fruitfield biscuits, Batchelors and Odlums together.

Other investments include stakes in the Punch taverns pub group in the UK, Norwegian bin firm Norden, coffee roasting group United Coffee, €400m Finnish baker Vaasan & Vaasan and FoodVest.

Last year, UK-based Capvest snapped up close to €75m in the first round of fundraising for its latest buyout fund as investor appetite for mid-market deals increased.

Jersey-domiciled CapVest Equity Partners III attracted a combination of existing and five new investors according to a recent US securities filing.

Low-profile Fitzpatrick is also a director and backer of Professor Richard Conroy's gold exploration firm Conroy Gold, which is trying to develop Ireland's first gold mine in Clontibret, Co Monaghan. The hugely wealthy financier spent around €8m buying a prime home on the exclusive Shrewsbury Road during the dark days of the economic crisis.

Irish Independent