EQT sells bakery to CapVest

Nordic buyout firm EQT has sold Finnish baker Vaasan & Vaasan for an undisclosed sum to another equity house sum following a limited auction led by Deutsche Bank.

EQT Partners, the Nordic private equity house, has reached agreement with UK-based private equity firm CapVest over the sale of Vaasan & Vaasan, a producer and distributor of fresh bread and other bakery products in Finland and the Baltic states.

Neither firm has disclosed the price paid by CapVest for the business, although sources valued the deal at just under €300 million ($377 million).

 

Vaasan & Vaasan was acquired by EQT Scandinavia II in 1998. Following EQT’s acquisition, Vaasan & Vaasan expanded internationally, increasing exports making acquisitions in Lithuania and Sweden. As a result of the growth strategy, Vaasan & Vaasan’s sales increased from €220 million in 1998 to almost €280 million in 2003, EQT said in a statement.

 

Last year, EQT appointed Deutsche Bank to advise on a sale of the business and a “very limited auction process” was undertaken, including a handful of key financial and strategic buyers. CapVest was chosen ahead of a number of bidders in a final round of bidding. “CapVest was chosen because they got on well with management, had a proven track record with Young’s Bluecrest [the UK seafood manufacturer acquired from LGV in 2002] and were able to move quickly to get the deal done,” said Christian Sinding, a partner at EQT Partners.

 

CIBC has been chosen by CapVest to arrange the financing for the deal, after EQT spoke to a number of banks to discuss refinancing plans. “We had the option to do a recap of the business because it had deleveraged substantially since the initial deal in 1998,” added Sinding. “We spoke to a number of banks regarding a recap and also asked them to provide staple financing for a buyout, which they were very keen to do. CapVest opted to work with CIBC.”

 

EQT has not disclosed the return it made on the company it held for just over five years, although Sinding said it was “several times our investment.”

 

CapVest was established in 1999 by former BT Capital private equity professional Randl Shure, Seamus FitzPatrick and Scott Paton and is part-owned by AIG, the US based insurance group.