FRANCE – Platinum Equity, a Los Angeles based investment firm, unveiled that it has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire Biscuit International, a leading European manufacturer of private label biscuits from Qualium Investissement.

Biscuit International was created in 2016 by the merger Groupe Poult and Banketgroep.

The company has since then expanded through the acquisitions of A&W Feinbackwaren in Germany, Northumbrian Fine Foods in the UK, Stroopwafel & Co and Aviateur in the Netherlands, and Arluy in Spain.

Headquartered in Paris, Biscuit International markets a wide range of products with a European or local presence, including traditional biscuits and a growing portfolio of products for consumers with specific dietary requirements.

The company employs approximately 1,900 people and generated sales in excess of €500 million (US$550m) during the last 12 months, of which approximately two-thirds came outside France.

“Biscuit International has an exceptional portfolio and a well-deserved reputation for high-quality products,” said Platinum Equity Partner Louis Samson.

“We support the company’s plan to continue expanding its offering and its international reach, both organically and through additional add-on investments.

“We look forward to working with the management team to optimize the platform and maximize operational performance throughout the business.”

Jean Eichenlaub, President of Qualium Investissement added: “We are proud to have supported the development stages that have led Biscuit International to become a leader in the European private label biscuit market.

“We are pleased with the progress made with the group and its teams since our initial investment in March 2014 and we are confident about the opportunities ahead with the support of their new shareholder.”

The proposed transaction is subject to works council consultation, regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

In June this year, Platinum Equity announced that it had completed acquisition of Spanish seafood provider Iberconsa from Portobello Capital.

The food and beverage industry has in the recent past proven to be an appetizing field for private equity firms, which control billions of dollars across almost all sectors.

According to The Food Institute, which tracks mergers and acquisitions in the food, beverage, grocery and food service industries, the industry had recorded 55 private equity acquisitions by October 2019 of which 26 of them have been food processors.

The trend has held strong over the last few years. In 2018, there were 72 private equity acquisitions in the larger food space while the number was 109 two years ago.

Constant demand in the food and beverage industry and the sector’s relative resistance to economic downturns have been some of the major drivers of this acquisitions with various reports ranking the food and beverage somewhere in the middle in return on investment.