Jacobs Fruitfield's Carey raises €20m for new biscuit venture
Serial entrepreneur Michael Carey, who built up Jacobs Fruitfield into one of the country's biggest food companies before selling out to Valeo, has raised up to €20m to launch a new biscuit venture.
It is understood that the new food manufacturing group has acquired a premises in Drogheda and will invest between €10m to €20m in getting the business off the ground and fitting out the new biscuit factory. The venture is being funded by new equity, debt and some support from Enterprise Ireland, according to industry sources.
Carey is said to have assembled his old team from Jacobs Fruitfield to run the venture, including marketing and innovation head Alison Cowzer, commercial director Daragh Monahan, Finance chief Gerry Murphy and operations director James Yarr. Companies office filings show Carey and some of the principals involved in a new company called Kinaraville, which is described as being in the "manufacture of other food products". Carey was unavailable for comment.
Carey is also the chairman of Bord Bia, the state agency charged with promoting sales of Irish food at home and abroad. He was re-appointed to the chair late last year.
Carey created Jacobs Fruitfield, when he merged his Fruitfield marmalade and Silvermints food business into the Jacobs biscuits operations which were being sold off by French group Danone in 2004.
This brought the likes of Fig Rolls and Mikado under his control and led to rationalisation of the business. Carey owned the majority of the group along with Lioncourt financiers Michael Tunney and David Andrews. In 2011, the enlarged group was bought by Valeo Foods - a joint venture between Origin and Seamus Fitzpatrick's private equity firm Capvest. The combined group had revenues north of €300m but has expanded significantly since then.
The Irish biscuit market is thought to be worth close to €350m and is dominated by Jacobs, McVitie and Burton biscuits. The Oreo - an iconic American biscuit owned by Mondelez - is now one of the fastest growing brands on the Irish market.
Sunday Indo Business