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Equistone acquires Européenne des Desserts from CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital

21 Oct 2013

Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity managers, today announces Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV is acquiring a majority stake in Européenne des Desserts (“the Group”) from CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital, alongside the current management team. The outgoing shareholders will retain a minority stake.

Européenne des Desserts is a French leader in the frozen baking industry employing more than 770 people across five production sites, four located in France and one in the UK. The Group supplies some of the largest organisations in the retail and catering sectors. 

The Group was originally established in 1984 in the Dordogne as Martine Spécialités. Acquired in 1998 by Premier Foods, Martine Spécialités underwent a management buyout in 2009 with the support of CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital. The Group has since invested in its production facilities and focused on external growth making four acquisitions: Delmotte Patisserie, 3Abers, Délices du Palais and Speciality Desserts, a UK-based company. With a wide range of high-quality products, Européenne des Desserts products are covering today 75% of the French bakery market needs. 

Européenne des Desserts’ turnover is expected to reach approximately €140 million next year. With the support of Equistone, the Group proposes to expand its range of products in France and abroad. Equistone will also support an acquisition strategy both in complementary activities and new geographies. 

The transaction, which remains subject to the approval of competition authorities, is likely to complete in November. 

Didier Boudy, President of Européenne des Desserts, commented: “After the exceptional work achieved with the support of CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital over the last five years, we were looking for a new partner to continue our development. With the experience of the team, its international network and pragmatic approach to business, Equistone is our ideal partner. Working alongside Equistone, we will be able to grow our product portfolio and accelerate our international expansion.”  

Guillaume Jacqueau, Managing Partner of Equistone, said: “With its focus on the highest levels of quality and innovation, Européenne des Desserts has confirmed its position as the frozen bakery leader in France. Given its potential, we are looking forward to supporting the company in its new phase of development to deliver on its growth strategy.” 

Gilles Sicard, Managing Director of CEREA Partenaire, added: “Since we first joined the company as a shareholder five years ago, from the initial carve-out and through the four successive build-ups, we have fully played our private equity investor’s role: create an independent specialist, support its management, create jobs and grow the value for our LPs.” 

Pierre Jourdain, Associate Director of Azulis Capital, concluded: “Our experience with Européenne des Desserts’ management team is a perfect illustration of how profitable internal growth and controlled external development can be achieved, alongside non-financial considerations including high environmental, social and governance standards, whilst respecting the objectives of a buyout transaction.”

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