Barclays, Arca take Cremonini unit stake

The private equity units of the UK and Italian banks have paid E100m for a 33 per cent stake in the Italian food group’s distribution unit.

Barclays Private Equity and Arca Impresa Gestioni, the private equity unit of Italian merchant bank Arca, have allied to take a 33 per cent stake in Marr, the food distribution unit of Italian food group Cremonini.


Magazzini Alimentari Riuniti Riminesi (Marr) was set up by Cremonini in 1972 and supplies food and non-food goods to restaurant operators in Italy. It has more than 30,000 customers throughout Italy and last year company expanded its operations into Spain. The company employs 1,300 people and manages 19 distribution centres.


The two firms have bought a twelve per cent stake in Marr from Cremonini, paying E35m. The remaining 23 per cent will be acquired via a capital increase that values the business at E300m.


Marr reported turnover last year of E665m, an increase of eight per cent on the 2001 figure. EBIT was up 16 per cent at E41m. The investment will be used to expand Marr’s European operations as well as to consolidate its position in the Italian market.


The deal is the second in a week for Barclays Private Equity and the third within the past month. Last week, the firm agreed to back a £147m buyout of Royal & SunAlliance’s healthcare and assistance insurance business. In March, the firm took a 32 per cent stake in DCK Concessions, a UK-based jewellery retailer.


The sale was coordinated by Rothschild Italia.