Inflexion makes 2x return on cheese company

The mid-market private equity firm has exited Ilchester Cheese in a sale to Norway’s largest milk co-operative. The fourth exit from Ilchester’s 2003 buyout fund netted an IRR in the mid-20 percent range.

UK mid-market firm Inflexion Private Equity has exited its 2004 investment in Ilchester Cheese in a sale to Norwegian dairy company, Tine, for an undisclosed amount.

The exit represents a multiple of more than two times Inflexion’s initial investment and an internal rate of return in the mid-twenty percent range, the firm said in a statement.

Ilchester produces three of the top five blended cheese brands in the UK, including Applewood, Mexicana and Five Counties. Under Inflexion’s ownership, Ilchester invested in building exports as well as new product development.

The buyer, Tine, is the largest milk co-operative in Norway, as well as the maker of Jarlsberg cheese.

Ilchester is the fourth exit from Inflextion’s €50 million second buyout fund, which closed in 2003.

Inflexion is currently investing its £165 million 2006 buyout fund. The firm typically targets deals of between £10 million and £100 million.

The firm has brought on three executives to date this year, most recently hiring former investment director of Lloyds TSB’s mid-market private equity firm, LDC, Richard Swann, as investment director. Over the summer, Inflexion also hired the former head of private equity vehicle Saatchinvest, Andrew Lee, as assistant director and Clara Chen as investment executive from Marakon Strategy Consultants.