Navis buys into Australian ice cream

Navis Capital Partners, a mid-market buyout firm, has bought Wendy’s, an Australian ice cream company.

Navis Capital Partners, a Malaysia-based private equity firm that invests in Asian companies, has completed a management buyout of Wendy’s, an ice cream company founded in 1979.

Navis invested about $20 million (€15.8m) in the transaction which values the enterprise at A$30 million to A$40 million, Rodney Muse, a founding partner and director of Navis said.

National Australian Bank is providing additional debt financing for the investment made from Navis Asia Partners IV, a $315 million fund.

Wendy’s, which operates about 300 ice cream retail outlets in Australia and New Zealand, is Navis’ fourth investment in Australia. Navis typically focuses on investments in south and southeast Asia.

Muse said: “We were approached by a party that knew them (Wendy’s) well, and the succession issues driving the sale. We don’t normally compete for the same deals in Australia, but still we get a good deal flow. There are certain niche industries that we look at.”

Muse said Navis is opening an office in Australia toward the end of the year. Two months ago, Navis has invested in Worldwide Online Printing, a printing franchise in Perth.

Other food and beverage companies Navis has invested in are Dome Café worldwide, Dunkin Donuts in Thailand and KFC in Hong Kong and Macau.