Activa sells Materne for €200m

The France-based private equity firm has made a 3x return on the dessert platform it built up.

Mid-market private equity firm Activa Capital has sold dessert maker Materne-Mont Blanc for approximately €200 million to fellow French private equity firm LBO France, according to a source familiar with matter. The transaction represented a 3x return for the firm, garnering a 40 percent IRR.

Mont Blanc was first put in Activa’s crosshairs in 2003 when it helped orchestrate the company’s spinout from food giant Nestlé in 2003 for €30 million. In 2005, following the purchase of a minority stake held by Nestlé, Activa tacked on Nestlé’s Gloria brand to the platform company.

One year later the firm merged Materne, a French manufacturer of compote, jams and industrial preserves, to the company’s business line creating the Materne – Mont Blanc group. Activa had purchased Materne from Lion Capital for an undisclosed sum in 2006.

The addition of Gloria and Materne “contributed strongly” to Materne-Mont Blanc’s increase in sales to €190 milion in 2010, up from €40 million in 2003, according to a statement from Activa, which also cited product innovation and new export markets as responsible for the healthy return.

French desserts: providing
delicious returns for private
equity

BNP Paribas was financial advisor for the transaction while global law firm Latham & Watkins provided legal service. 

The deal is Activa’s second exit this year, the first being the September sale of French mail order company Françoise Saget – Linvosges to Alpha Associés Conseil for approximately €95 million, according to the unnamed source. 

Activa Capital, which has approximately €500 million under management, closed its €315 million Fund II in 2007.