Cinven and MidOcean realise investment in United BiscuitsEuropean private equity firm Cinven and MidOcean Partners today announce that they and PAI (“the Consortium”) have signed an agreement to sell United Biscuits (“the Company” or “UB”), a leading manufacturer and marketer of branded biscuits and snack foods in the UK and the rest of Europe, to Blackstone and PAI for an enterprise value of just in excess of €2.4 billion (£1.6 billion). Cinven and MidOcean’s interest in UB has generated returns of 2.2 times the cost of investment.
UB was originally acquired in 2001 by the Consortium and Kraft Inc and has since focussed on improving operational performance through driving growth in sales and EBITDA margin as well as an acquisition strategy that has seen UB acquire Jacob’s and Triunfo, both in 2004. In addition, non-core assets have been sold including the company’s Benelux snack business in 2004 and its Southern European operations in 2006. In 2006 Kraft Inc exited their shareholding in the Company.
Today, UB is the number one player in the UK biscuit market with well-known household brands such as McVitie’s, go ahead! and Jacob’s. UB is also the number two business in the biscuit markets in France and Belgium, joint number one in the Netherlands, the number two in the UK bagged snacks market and UK cake market and the number one in the UK nuts market.
The Company reported revenues of €2.140 billion (£1.435 billion) and EBITDA of €301 million (£202 million) for the year ended 2005.
Commenting on the agreed disposal Yagnish Chotai, partner of Cinven said today:
“United Biscuits has successfully dealt with a number of challenges during our period of ownership and we have worked closely with the management team to focus the business on core brands, accretive strategic acquisitions and meeting the challenges of evolving consumer tastes. We wish the business well for the future.”
Graham Clempson, European Managing Partner of MidOcean, added:
"The Company's strong performance over the past years in a challenging retail environment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of UB's management and employees, and we wish them every success in the future"
David Fish, Chairman of United Biscuits added:
“Cinven and MidOcean have shown significant commitment to the development of the business during their period of investment in UB and I would like to thank them for their support and valued advice over the past six years.”