FL takes Refresco revenues above €1bn

Icelandic investor FL Group has bought the French soft drinks business Sun Beverages for an undisclosed sum, its third bolt-on acquisition in two months for expanding portfolio company Refresco.

FL Group, an Icelandic investment vehicle, has completed its biggest bolt-on acquisition yet for European soft drinks business Refresco, snapping up smaller rival Sun Beverages.

Terms were not disclosed, but last year Sun generated revenues of €235 million. The company, which is based in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, makes white-label mineral water and fruit juice for leading retailers.

It is the latest in a series of bolt-on deals for Refresco, which is now the second biggest fruit juice producer in Europe. An FL-led Icelandic consortium bought the business from 3i for €461 million ($612 million) just eleven months ago. In the last two months it has also bought Kentpol, a Polish firm that added an extra €40 million of revenue, and UK-based Histogram, which added a further €30 million.

As a result of the three deals, FL said Refresco’s revenues would top €1 billion for the first time. This is up from €600 million at end of year 2005, just before the FL Group bought the business.

Hannes Smárason, chief executive of FL Group said: “The Refresco story is an excellent example of what both Refresco and FL Group are all about:
ambitious targets, strategic vision and a clear focus. We believe that these are key drivers for success in delivering growth both now and in the future.”

Kaupthing Bank arranged the debt financing and acted as M&A adviser on all three Refresco deals.