Group of investors to acquire Greek baking unit
April 15, 2010
by Eric Schroeder
ATHENS, GREECE — Marfin Investment Group (MIG) has agreed to sell its Vivartia’s Bakery and Confectionery business for €730 million ($990 million) to a consortium of investors led by the Olayan Group and Spyros Theodoropoulos, chief executive officer of Vivartia. Of the €730 million, Marfin said €327 million is debt that will be assumed by the new company, which will operate under the name of Chipita.
“We believe that this transaction provides Vivartia with the opportunity to significantly deleverage its operations during difficult economic times, while enabling MIG to complete a significant disposal at very attractive valuations despite the current state of the economy and markets,” said Dennis Malamatinas, c.e.o. of MIG. “This transaction will enhance our liquidity and reduce our exposure to economic risks, while allowing MIG to retain profit upside in Chipita for the short and medium-term future. This transaction marks the completion of our planned strategic initiatives in relation to our existing portfolio companies and based on our strong capital structure and our enhanced liquidity position we can now focus on pursuing new investment opportunities taking into account the current risks and dangers facing the Greek economy.”
Vivartia is Greece’s largest food production company, and through its Bakery and Confectionery unit primarily makes packed dough products. In 2008, the company entered the U.S. bakery market with the acquisition of Nonni’s Food Company, Inc. At the time of that acquisition, Mr. Theodoropoulos said Nonni’s would secure “the immediate entry of croissant type baked goods to be followed by other Vivartia products in the U.S. market and … the introduction of the broad portfolio of Nonni’s quality products to markets where Vivartia is already active.”
Under terms of the most recent disposal, MIG said it and Vivartia will retain the option to acquire back up to 30% of Chipita at the disposal price increased by 10% in the first year and by 5% for each subsequent year. In addition, for a period of five years MIG and Vivartia will retain a 30% profit sharing upside resulting from any potential disposal of Nonni’s.