The investment was made via the firm’s Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV vehicle, which closed earlier this year on €1.5bn. The outgoing shareholders will retain a minority stake, while the current management team will
Européenne des Desserts employs more than 770 people across five production sites, four located in France and one in the UK. It was originally established in 1984 in the Dordogne as Martine Spécialités. Acquired in 1998 by Premier Foods, Martine Spécialités underwent a management buyout in 2009 with the support of CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital. The group has since made four acquisitions, Delmotte Patisserie, 3Abers, Délices du Palais and Speciality Desserts.
The company’s turnover is expected to reach approximately €140m next year. Equistone will also support an acquisition strategy both in complementary activities and new geographies, it said.
Guillaume Jacqueau, managing partner of Equistone, said, “With its focus on the highest levels of quality and innovation, Européenne des Desserts has confirmed its position as the frozen bakery leader in France. Given its potential, we are looking forward to supporting the company in its new phase of development to deliver on its growth strategy.”
Gilles Sicard, managing director of CEREA Partenaire, added, “Since we first joined the company as a shareholder five years ago, from the initial carve-out and through the four successive build-ups, we have fully played our private equity investor’s role: create an independent specialist, support its management, create jobs and grow the value for our LPs.”
Last month, Equistone acquired a majority stake in UK-based dried fruit, nut and seed products supplier Whitworths from fellow private equity firm European Capital.
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