Wolseley acquires 50 percent stake in Freshmax

Wolseley, a private equity firm in Sydney, is backing the expansion plans of Freshmax, a fruit and fresh produce distributor based in New Zealand.

Wolseley, a relatively new private equity firm in Sydney, has made an investment to acquire a 50 percent stake in Freshmax, New Zealand’s largest fruit and fresh produce distributor. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
 
Established in 2004, Wolseley closed its maiden fund on A$110 million (€66 million; $85 million) in September last year. The fund seeks investments in companies worth between A$20 million and A$100 million in enterprise value.
 
The Freshmax investment is aimed at helping the company to expand into Australia where according to Wolseley the fragmented fruit and produce distribution market presents consolidation opportunities.
 
Wolseley will take a seat on the company’s board. The existing management in Auckland led by founder and managing director David Smith will be retained.
 
Freshmax employs over 200 people and boasts of sales around A$125 million. The company plans to expand the business to Australia, to achieve a combined sales turnover of $300 million over the next two to three years.
 
Peter Hasko, a partner at Wolseley, led the transaction. Founded by former Bain & Company managemet consultants, the firm started out as a corporate advisor before it evolved into a private equity fund management operation.