Questor to buy Lufthansa food unit

The turnaround specialist has agreed to purchase the German airliner’s beleaguered non-airline food business Chef Solutions.

Detroit- and New York-based Questor Management, a turnaround and special situations firm, has agreed to buy out food business Chef Solutions from German airline Lufthansa.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Chef Solutions provides outsourced manufacturing and distribution of prepared food products to retail stores, restaurant chains and foodservice companies.

The non-airline-based business was picked up in 2000 by Lufthansa – which owns LSG Sky Chefs, one of the world’s largest airline food distributors – as a way to expand into a differentiated market and generate an alternative revenue stream. However, in light of the economic turmoil that hit major airliners post 9/11, Lufthansa decided to divest non-core assets, and Chef Solutions was put on the auction block.

Questor managing director Dean Anderson said his firm would revamp Chef Solutions’s three business lines –  baked goods, ‘wet salads’, which include deli-
style potato, fruit and macaroni salads, and a Midwest-based distribution center – and try to sell the units separately to strategic buyers.

Questor funded the acquisition from its $865 million Questor Partners Fund II, which closed in 1999. The firm currently manages $1.2 billion.

In August 2002 Questor teamed with JP Morgan Partners to acquire Fiat’s Teksid Aluminum division, a manufacturer of aluminum automotive components such as cylinder heads, transmission casings and engine blocks, in a €460 million deal.