Equistone acquires Européenne des Desserts from CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital

Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV is acquiring a majority stake in Européenne des Desserts from CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital, alongside the current management team. The outgoing shareholders will retain a minority stake.


Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity managers, today announces Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV is acquiring a majority stake in Européenne des Desserts (“the Group”) from CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital, alongside the current management team. The outgoing shareholders will retain a minority stake.

Européenne des Desserts is a French leader in the frozen baking industry employing more than 770 people across five production sites, four located in France and one in the UK. The Group supplies some of the largest organisations in the retail and catering sectors.

The Group was originally established in 1984 in the Dordogne as Martine Spécialités. Acquired in 1998 by Premier Foods, Martine Spécialités underwent a management buyout in 2009 with the support of CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital. The Group has since invested in its production facilities and focused on external growth making four acquisitions: Delmotte Patisserie, 3Abers, Délices du Palais and Speciality Desserts, a UK-based company. With a wide range of high-quality products, Européenne des Desserts products are covering today 75% of the French bakery market needs.

Européenne des Desserts’ turnover is expected to reach approximately €140 million next year. With the support of Equistone, the Group proposes to expand its range of products in France and abroad. Equistone will also support an acquisition strategy both in complementary activities and new geographies.

The transaction, which remains subject to the approval of competition authorities, is likely to complete in November.

Didier Boudy, President of Européenne des Desserts, commented: “After the exceptional work achieved with the support of CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital over the last five years, we were looking for a new partner to continue our development. With the experience of the team, its international network and pragmatic approach to business, Equistone is our ideal partner. Working alongside Equistone, we will be able to grow our product portfolio and accelerate our international expansion.”

Guillaume Jacqueau, Managing Partner of Equistone, said: “With its focus on the highest levels of quality and innovation, Européenne des Desserts has confirmed its position as the frozen bakery leader in France. Given its potential, we are looking forward to supporting the company in its new phase of development to deliver on its growth strategy.”

Gilles Sicard, Managing Director of CEREA Partenaire, added: “Since we first joined the company as a shareholder five years ago, from the initial carve-out and through the four successive build-ups, we have fully played our private equity investor’s role: create an independent specialist, support its management, create jobs and grow the value for our LPs.”

Pierre Jourdain, Associate Director of Azulis Capital, concluded: “Our experience with Européenne des Desserts’ management team is a perfect illustration of how profitable internal growth and controlled external development can be achieved, alongside non-financial considerations including high environmental, social and governance standards, whilst respecting the objectives of a buyout transaction.”


About Européenne des Desserts

For more information, please visit: www.europeenne-des-desserts.com

About Equistone Partners Europe

• Equistone Partners Europe Limited is an independent investment firm owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity.
• In January 2013, it successfully completed the final closing of Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV with total capital commitments of €1.5bn.
• The Company is one of Europe’s leading investors in mid-market buyouts with a successful track record spanning over 30 years, with more than 350 transactions completed in this period.
• EPEF IV has a strong focus on change of ownership deals and aims to invest between €25m and €125m of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between €50m and €300m.
• The Company has a team of 33 investment professionals operating across France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams.
• The French investment team is based in Paris and has 10 experienced professionals. Since its inception in 1991, the French Equistone team has invested in nearly 100 transactions.
• Equistone Partners Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

For more information, please visit: www.equistonepe.com

About CEREA Partenaire

CEREA Partenaire is a leading private equity firm specialized in agribusiness. CEREA Partenaire invests in food and related industries companies (ie. R&D, packaging, logistics, etc.) across a range of dedicated buy-outs and mezzanine financing funds. Since its inception in 2004, CEREA Partenaire has completed over 40 transactions and invested, alongside co-investors, more than €400 million.

For more information, please visit: www.cerea.com

About Azulis Capital

Azulis Capital is a leading French player in the field of Mid Market LBO transactions, growth and replacement capital. Its independent team has built an extensive expertise in several business sectors, including food, healthcare, consumer/retail and business services. Since 1993, Azulis Capital has invested more than €600 million in over 100 companies, with more than 100 add-ons in support of portfolio companies.
For more information, please visit: www.azuliscapital.fr

Key stakeholders

• Guillaume Jacqueau
• Arnaud Thomas
• Thierry Lardinois

CEREA Partenaire
• Gilles Sicard
• Antoine Peyronnet
• Xavier Renault

Azulis Capital
• Pierre Jourdain
• Michel Rowan
• Julien Hess

• Didier Boudy
• Hervé Jeanpierre


• Legal : SJ Berwin (Thomas Maitrejean, Benjamin Garçon)
• Financial due diligence: Eight Advisory (Stéphane Vanbergue, Aurélien Vion)
• Tax due diligence : Arsène Taxand (Denis Andrès, Alexandre Rocchi)
• Commercial due diligence: Roland Berger (Delphine Mathez, Benjamin Entraygues, Romain Cécile)
• Insurance due diligence : Marsh (Jean-Marie Dargaignaratz)

• Counsel : The Silver Company (Stéphane Argyropoulos)
• Legal advice : Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle (Henri Pieyre de Mandiargues, Diana Hund, Julie Seroka)
• Tax counsel : Arsène Taxand (Franck Chaminade, Brice Picard)

• ARDIAN (Guillaume Chinardet, Julien Jozereau)
• SJ Berwin (Olivier Vermeulen)
• Willkie Farr (Paul Lombard)

CEREA Partenaire and Azulis Capital
• Investment bankers: BNP Paribas Corporate Finance (Sylvina Mayer, Amaury Lefébure, Marc Walbaum, Nicolas Joaille)
• Legal advice: Paul Hastings (Olivier Deren, Edith Boucaya)
• Vendors Financial due diligence: Grant Thornton (Frédéric Zeitoun, Pascale Pasquer, Vincent Marguer)
• Strategic due diligence : Indefi (Julien Berger, Mehdi Belefqhi)
• Legal advice: Paul Hastings (Olivier Deren, Edith Boucaya)
• Environmental due diligence: ERM (Julien Famy, Cécile Collantier)

Press contacts


College Hill

Antonia Coad: +44 (0)207 457 2020, antonia.coad@collegehill.com
Zinka Bozovic: +44 (0)207 457 2020, zinkabozovic@collegehill.com

Kablé Communication Finance

Catherine Kablé: +33 (0)1 44 50 54 75, catherine.kable@kable-cf.com
Angèle Pellicier: +33 (0)1 44 50 54 73, angele.pellicier@kable-cf.com

Européenne des Desserts

Barbara Bosquette: +33 (0)5 53 02 32 77, b.bosquette@eudesserts.com

CEREA Partenaire

Anne Rein: +33 (0)6 03 35 92 05, anne.rein@strategiesimage.com

Azulis Capital

Laetitia Hottinguer: +33 (0)1 44 50 58 78, laetitia.hottinguer@shan.fr