Biscuit International cements European leadership with Continental Bakeries add-on

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Biscuit International continues its expansion plans with another acquisition. Pic: Monty Rakusen
Biscuit International continues its expansion plans with another acquisition. Pic: Monty Rakusen

Related tags Biscuit International Continental Bakeries Goldman sachs Platinum Equity Capital Biscuits Private label Northumbrian Fine Foods stroopwafels Arluy Mergers and acquisitions

The Platinum Equity portfolio company has reached an agreement to acquire Netherlands-based Continental Bakeries from its majority shareholder, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, for an undisclosed amount.

The two companies share numerous synergies, both being leading European manufacturers of private label goods like biscuits, bread replacements and toast.

Continental Bakeries focuses on private label and own brands such as Haust, Gille, Grabower, Bussink, Brinky and Continental Bakeries. The company has a 2,300-strong workforce operating 13 production facilities in the Netherlands (headquartered in Dordrecht), Belgium, Germany, Poland and Sweden.

Goldman Sachs has supported Continental Bakeries’ growth since 2016.

Game changer

The acquisition is a strategic and transformational move for Biscuit International to reinforce its position in the European private label biscuit and bread substitute market. The coupling will also allow it to increase its geographical footprint and continue to invest in innovation to remain at the forefront of organic, low-sugar and eco-friendly products, in particular.

“The proposed acquisition of Continental Bakeries is a game changer for Biscuit International,”​ said Giampaolo Schiratti, Biscuit International’s CEO.

“Continental Bakeries is a very well-established company in Europe and its addition to our Group will be transformational, leveraging on a strong strategic fit in terms of product and geographic complementarity.

“The transaction will be a considerable milestone in our pursuit to create the European leader of private label biscuits, for the benefit of our European customers and their consumers. We look forward to unlocking further synergies and market opportunities to reveal the full potential of this combination.

‘Deepen our international presence’

Continent Bakeries’ CEO Pierluigi Tosato added, “The combination will enable us to broaden our product portfolio, deepen our international presence across Europe and enhance our customer offering. We look forward to entering a new phase in our development as an organisation and working together with the Biscuit International team to plan for, and following closing, ensure a successful integration.”

Mike Ebeling, MD in the Private Equity business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said Continental Bakeries has established a reputation for high quality, reliability and a wide-ranging product portfolio.

“I’m delighted with the progress Pierluigi and the broader Continental Bakeries team have made and we are excited to see Continental Bakeries joining forces with Biscuit International,” ​he said.

“We wish the management team the very best in the next phase of their journey.”

Serious player

Paris-headquartered Biscuit International was founded from a merger between Groupe Poult and Banketgroep in 2016. The recent acquisitions of A&W Feinbackwahren in Germany, Northumbrian Fine Foods in the UK,​ Stroopwafel & Co in the Netherlands, Arluy in Spain,Aviateur in the Netherlands​ and Dan Cake in Portugal​ has elevated the Group into a serious player in Europe’s private label biscuit sector.

The Continental Bakeries integration will extend the Group’s workforce to over 4,500 people, generating consolidated sales in excess of €900m from an annual production of over 300,000 tons of biscuits, waffles and bread replacement products made in 33 factories across Europe. More than 80% of the business will be outside of France.

Financial backing

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Platinum Equity for their commitment and financial support​ throughout this transaction,” ​added Schiratti.

The investment firm has more than $25bn of assets under management and a portfolio of around 50 operating companies that serve customers around the world in sectors ranging from manufacturing to media and entertainment, technology and metals. It is currently using investment from Platinum Equity Capital Partners V, a $10bn global buyout fund, and Platinum Equity Small Cap Fund, a $1.5bn buyout fund focused on the lower middle market.

“We are pleased to continue putting our M&A and operational resources to work in support of Biscuit International’s growth and expansion,” ​said Louis Samson, partner at Platinum Equity.

“As a firm, Platinum has a lot of momentum in Europe and we continue delivering on our commitment to invest in the region and maximise the potential of our European portfolio companies. This transformational add-on of Continental Bakeries is another good example.”

Biscuit International was advised by Houlihan Lokey (financial advisor), Latham and Watkins (legal advisor), Alvarez & Marsal (financial and operational due diligence), OC&C Strategy Consultants (strategic and commercial due diligence) and Brunswick Group (strategic communications). Continental Bakeries was advised by Rothschild & Co (financial advisor).

Completion of the transaction is anticipated during the first half of 2022, subject to customary antitrust and works council approvals.

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