Matrix cooks up 3.2x with Pasta King sale

NBGI Private Equity has purchased the food supplier for £13m, about half of which comprised senior debt.

Matrix Private Equity Partners has sold UK food provider Pasta King to fellow London-based private equity firm NBGI Private Equity (NBGIPE) for £13 million ($22 million; €15 million). It was about 50 percent financed by senior debt, according to a source familiar with the transaction.

HSBC provided financing for the deal, which “highlights that HSBC remains supportive of well managed organisations with a solid strategy across all sectors”, Kevin Beevers, head of HSBC leveraged finance, said in a statement.

Matrix said in a statement the secondary sale produced a return of 3.2 times its investment, made in 2006 as part of a management buyout of an undisclosed size.

NBGIPE is bringing in Howard Farquhar and Mike Cole as respective managing director and chairman of Pasta King. The duo previously led NGBI’s Brambles Food, which was sold in April 2007, generating a return of 4.3 times NBGIPE ‘s original investment and a 51 percent internal rate of return.

Richard Morley, director of NBGIPE, said Pasta King is well positioned for organic growth.  The company, which provides healthy ingredients for pasta bars primarily for schools and universities, plans to build up business in corporate, leisure and health settings, he said.

Pasta King, which employs 71 people and has a £12 million annual turnover, won six awards last year, including the “Small to Medium Sized UK Business of the year” at the National Business Awards, according to a statement.

For Matrix, the sale marks its second exit in the past three months, having recently sold Tottel Publishing to Bloomsbury Publishing. The £10 million deal netted the firm a 4x exit.

NBGIPE, the private equity arm affiliated with the National Bank of Greece, is currently investing a £100 million fund.