European Capital invests in sushi

The buyout and mezzanine manager has invested €29 million of equity and debt in French sushi company Marco Polo.

European Capital Services, the Paris and London-based affiliate of publicly traded buyout and mezzanine fund American Capital, has invested €29 million ($34 million) in a management buyout of Contres, France-based sushi maker Marco Polo Foods.

Sushi only came to France a few years ago, so [Marco Polo] has first-mover advantage

Jean Eichenlaub, managing director, European Capital Services

The firm describes the investment as France’s first “one stop buyout”, and has provided a financing package including a combination of senior term debt, senior subordinated debt, redeemable bonds and common equity. European Capital Services managing director Jean Eichenlaub told PEO that the package was split approximately 60:40 between debt and equity, but could not disclose further financial details. He added that the firm was hoping to syndicate the senior debt some time next year.
 
The company’s management is also investing in redeemable bonds and common equity.
 
Established in 1999, Marco Polo Foods produces fresh and frozen sushi for Western European retail markets. Eichenlaub said: “We were attracted by the company’s dominant position in a market that’s growing. Sushi only came to France a few years ago, so it has first-mover advantage.” He added that the firm hoped to use its contacts in the US to assist Marco Polo’s plans to expand into the North American market.
 
European Capital Services is a buyout and mezzanine manager with €750 million of capital. It invests between €5 million and €125 million per transaction in range of equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt to fund growth, acquisitions and recapitalizations.