EQT Greater China II acquires Classic Fine Foods Group

  • EQT Greater China acquires Classic Fine Foods Group, a leading multinational importer and distributor of fine foods to high-end hotels and restaurants
  • EQT Greater China to focus on growth and geographic expansion

EQT Greater China II (“EQT Greater China”) has acquired Classic Fine Foods Group (“CFF” or the “Company”) from UK-based Vestey Group Ltd. EQT Greater China now owns 96% of CFF while management holds the remaining 4%.

CFF is the leading multinational importer and distributor of fine foods, serving the vast majority of five-star hotels and high-end restaurants in Asia. The Company is involved in sourcing and procurement, import and export, storage and handling, marketing and distribution of high-end fine foods products such as dairy, meat, pastry, gastronomies, seafood, high quality perishables, condiments, pasta and dry products.

CFF was incorporated in 1999 and has since been built through a combination of acquisitions and greenfield initiatives. Today, the Company has operations in 11 markets, including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, UK, the Philippines, and Vietnam and is the market leader in the majority of the countries where the Company is active. Asian markets together represent more than 80% of CFF’s total sales. Sales in 2010 are expected to reach approximately EUR 94 million. The Company has grown approximately 15% annually over the last 3 years.

CFF has a very strong sourcing network of suppliers, mainly Europe-based, offering the customers leading brands on an exclusive basis. The Company has excellent customer relationships not only with five-star hotels and high-end restaurants but also with customers such as airlines, social clubs, cruise lines, supermarket chains, department and delicatessen stores.

“EQT Greater China was attracted by CFF’s strong market position, its track record and entrepreneurial spirit among management and country managers. The Company also has outstanding relations with both suppliers and customers. CFF is a well run business with numerous opportunities to develop and grow. We believe that EQT’s experience from the sector and history of developing similarly international, premium businesses will make EQT Greater China a good owner. We will focus on expanding the product offering but also look into the possibilities of entering new markets, for instance China,” says Massimo Rossi, new Chairman of the Board of Directors of CFF and Industrial Advisor of the EQT Industrial Network.

In addition to the Chairman Massimo Rossi, the Board of Directors will consist of Dennis Malamatinas (previously CEO of Burger King and currently Board Member of EQT IV-owned SSP) and John Lim (previously CEO of Cold Storage and currently Deputy Chairman of Fairprice, Singapore). The new Board of Directors holds vast food and distribution experience and will contribute with industry knowledge from both the Asian and European markets. Simon Griffiths from EQT Partners Singapore will also join the Board of Directors of CFF.

The Asian fine foods market has shown robust growth and this is expected to continue as a result of economic growth and an increased consumer taste and interest for Western fine cuisine. New premium hotels and high-end restaurants are thriving in the Asian Pacific region, creating exciting opportunities for CFF and its comprehensive offering of fine foods. EQT Greater China will, together with the management of CFF, work intensively to capture these opportunities and to develop and grow CFF even further. Initially, the strategic initiatives will include geographic expansion and expanding the product range.

Contacts:
EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT Greater China II
Simon Griffiths, Senior Partner Singapore, +65 6595 1834
Johan Hähnel, Communications & PR, +46 8 506 55 334

About EQT
EQT
is the leading private equity group in Northern Europe with around EUR 13 billion in raised capital and multiple investment strategies. Together with a superior network of Industrial Advisors, EQT implements its business concept by acquiring or financing good medium-sized to large companies in Northern and Eastern Europe, Asia and the United States, developing them into leading companies. Development is achieved by applying an industrial strategy with focus on growth. Since inception, EQT has invested EUR 8.9 billion in more than 80 companies and exited around 40. EQT-owned companies have more than 500,000 employees.

EQT Greater China makes control or co-control investments in high-quality market leading, medium-sized companies in attractive industries in Asia with a potential for top-line growth.

EQT Partners, acting as investment advisor to the managers of each EQT fund, has more than 100 investment professionals with an extensive industrial and financial competence. EQT Partners has offices in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Oslo, London, Munich, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Warsaw and Zurich.

More information can be found on www.eqt.se