FRANCE – Spanish pasta maker Ebro Foods is selling its Panzani dry pasta, couscous, sauces, and semolina business in France to CVC Capital Partners VIII as part of efforts to refocus its resources and energies to its fresh pasta and convenience businesses.  

Ebro Foods has been offloading businesses not aligned with its focus on premium fresh pasta offerings with divestitures in Canada and the United States being some of the latest by the company. 

In December 2020, Ebro’s Riviana Foods subsidiary sold its US branded pasta portfolio including San Giorgio and Creamette to TreeHouse Foods; while the company recently finalised its divestment of the Ronzoni dry pasta brand to 8th Avenue Foods & Provisions. 

Earlier in the year, Ebro offloaded its Catelli dry pasta business in Canada to Barilla as part of this drive towards premium Fresh Pasta.  

The sale of the Spanish Unit which posted a turnover of €470 million in 2020 and currently employs 750 people is a natural progression of this push away from dry pasta businesses. 

 According to a Reuters report, the Spanish pasta maker has already entered into exclusive discussions with CVC Capital Partners for the sale of the French businesses in a deal valued at €550 million (US$648 million). 

The deal includes the Panzani, Ferrero, Regia, Zakia and Le Renard brands, along with their associated manufacturing plants and mills. 

However, the fresh pasta and rice businesses – including the Lustucru Selection and Taureau Ailé brands – will be separated from the unit and remain with Ebro. 

Upon completion of the transaction, the business will remain headquartered in Lyon, France, with no impacted employees.  

The company will book a €91 million capital gain from the sale, funds which will prove useful in further strengthening and expanding Ebro’s premium, fresh pasta and convenience businesses. 

Ebro is bolstering its presence in the fresh pasta at a time when the market is growing in Europe due to a good business environment and traditional cultural inheritance. 

According to Market Watch, the global Fresh Pasta market is valued at US$1004.6 million in 2020 is expected to reach US$1155.8 million by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 2.0% during 2021-2026. 

Ebro’s latest deal,  expected to be completed before 31 December 2021, subject to approval by representatives of the workers, shareholders and regulatory bodies, will position the company to take advantage of this growing market which is mostly concentrated in Europe.  

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