R&R swoops for Australian ice cream maker

YORKSHIRE-based R&R Ice Cream has swooped for one of Australia’s oldest consumer businesses.

Funds advised by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) today announced the sale of Peters Food Group to R&R backed by funds advised by PAI Partners (PAI).

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, R&R will acquire Peters, with its portfolio of household name ice creams including Drumstick, Connoisseur, Peters Original and Maxibon. PEP Fund IV purchased Peters from Nestlé in 2012.

Since the acquisition, Peters has undergone a significant transformation driven by investment in its core brands, substantial new product development and improvement in operating costs, under the leadership of CEO, Stephen Audsley.

It generates annual sales of around A$269m (€190m).

Founded in 1985, R&R is the largest private label ice cream manufacturer in Europe and the second largest ice cream manufacturer overall in Europe.

Its strong branded portfolio includes the Mondelez and Nestlé brands (including Cadbury Dairy Milk, Oreo, Milka, Smarties and Kit-Kat) as well as brands such as Disney, YooMoo frozen yogurt and Kelly’s of Cornwall.

The existing Australian executive leadership team will continue to develop the Peters business locally and as a part of the broader global R&R business.

Pacific Equity Partners managing director Tony Duthie said: “PEP has a long track record of investing in and growing businesses. The successful transformation of the Peters business underscores our ability to combine outstanding management, operational experience and industry knowledge to individual companies, resulting in strong returns for our investors. We are pleased that a company of R&R’s pedigree will help drive the future of the Peters’ business alongside the existing skilled and committed Australian management team.”

Peters chief executive Stephen Audsley said: “Peters remains a proudly Australian company employing around 500 people across Australia. With the backing of R&R, Peters will continue to invest in its market leading brands including Drumstick and Connoisseur and in its long history of innovation. Manufacturing will continue at our world class facility in Mulgrave from which we intend to create new opportunities for growth.”

Ibrahim Najafi, CEO of R&R, added: “We are delighted to have come to an agreement with Peters and PEP. Peters is an iconic Australian business and the leader in the Australian ice cream manufacturing market; it will be an exciting complement to R&R’s European presence. We look forward to working with Stephen and his team and accelerating our growth as one combined business.”

Financial advisers to PEP were Morgan Stanley, Allens provided legal advice and PWC provided accounting and tax advice.

Financial advisers to R&R were Rothschild, Allen & Overy provided legal advice and KPMG provided accounting and tax advice.

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