Wellbilt to buy Crem International for $224 mln

Wellbilt Inc said Feb. 26 that it agreed to buy Avaj International Holding AB for about 1.8 billion Swedish Krona or $224 million. Priveq Investment Fund IV LP and SEB Venture Capital are the sellers. Avaj International, or Crem International, of Solna, Sweden, makes professional coffee machines.


NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Welbilt, Inc. (NYSE:WBT), a leading global provider of commercial foodservice equipment, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent of the shares of Avaj International Holding AB (“Crem® International” or “Crem”), which is majority owned by private equity firms Priveq Investment Fund IV L.P. and SEB Venture Capital, for total consideration of approximately SEK 1,800 million, or approximately $224 million USD equivalent. The acquisition will be funded through cash on hand and existing credit lines and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to certain closing conditions.

Crem International is a global leading manufacturer of professional coffee machines with more than 50 years of experience in the market and sales in more than 80 countries. Crem is headquartered in Solna, Sweden, and has three manufacturing sites in Åmotfors, Sweden, Gandia, Spain, and Shanghai, China. These plants are supported by three R&D centers and six sales offices. Crem develops, manufactures and markets coffee machines under three brands: Coffee Queen®, Expobar® and Spengler for use in offices, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, catering and convenience stores. Crem offers the broadest range of professional coffee machines, including manual and automatic espresso and filter coffee machines as well as instant, liquid, freestanding and other machines.
In 2017, Crem International generated sales of approximately SEK 767 million, or approximately $90 million USD equivalent. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings beginning later in 2018 and beyond, with run-rate synergies expected to grow to approximately $10 million by 2020.
“The acquisition of Crem International is the first step in realizing our ambition to complement our organic growth strategy with select bolt-on acquisitions,” stated Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, Welbilt’s President and CEO. “Crem expands our full-line of commercial foodservice equipment coverage by adding the fast-growing hot coffee category to our portfolio, which gives Welbilt the broadest portfolio of hot and cold beverage equipment of any company in the market. Crem is very strong in Europe and Asia, supporting our strategic objective of expanding our presence in these two important regions. We foresee significant cross-selling opportunities between Crem’s and Welbilt’s respective customer bases in those regions, and see further opportunity to bring Crem to Welbilt’s customer base in the U.S. and include it as a core offering in our fitkitchenSM system solutions.”
“We welcome Crem International’s employees into the Welbilt family. We see substantial opportunities going forward in creating a joint team supported by shared company values and a spirit of innovation,” concluded Muehlhaeuser.
Sebastian Lindstroem, CEO of Crem International noted, “We at Crem International are delighted to join forces with Welbilt. Jointly with our shareholders we have built Crem into one of the global leaders in professional coffee machines with a unique breadth of technology and solutions with a highly innovative and competitive product portfolio. Within Welbilt’s strong family of brands and products, we will be able to further expand the reach of our product portfolio through improved market access and our current customers will benefit from Welbilt’s expertise in new product development and manufacturing process improvement.”
The previous majority shareholders, Priveq Investment Fund IV L.P. and SEB Venture Capital, welcome the arrival of Welbilt as new owner and strategic partner for Crem International. Karl-Johan Willén, partner at Priveq Advisory AB, acting in its capacity as Adviser to Priveq G.P. IV Ltd, being the general partner to Priveq Investment Fund IV L.P., said, “We are convinced we have found the best partner in Welbilt for the entrepreneurial future of Crem International. Welbilt has substantial access and experience in relevant markets and maximizes Crem’s potential for future success.”
About Welbilt, Inc.
Welbilt, Inc. provides the world’s top chefs, premier chain operators and growing independents with industry-leading equipment and solutions. Our innovative products and solutions are powered by our deep knowledge, operator insights, and culinary expertise. We offer fully-integrated kitchen systems and our products are backed by KitchenCare® aftermarket parts and service. Headquartered in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and operating 17 manufacturing facilities throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, the company sells through a global network of over 3,500 distributors and dealers in over 100 countries. We have approximately 5,400 employees and generated sales of $1.45 billion in 2017. Our portfolio of award-winning brands includes Cleveland™, Convotherm®, Delfield®, fitkitchenSM, Frymaster®, Garland®, Kolpak®, Lincoln™, Manitowoc® Ice, Merco®, Merrychef® and Multiplex®. For more information, visit www.welbilt.com.
Forward-looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements and include, for example, statements relating to our anticipated acquisition of Crem, including the timing of closing the transaction and the anticipated benefits expected to be realized by us as a result of the acquisition. Certain of these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “targets,” “expects,” “could,” “will,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “assumes,” “should” or other similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, and our actual results could differ materially from future results expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statement included in this release are based on our current beliefs and expectations and speak only as of the date of this release. These statements are not guarantees or indicative of future performance. Important assumptions and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, risks related to the acquisition of Crem International, including the failure to obtain applicable regulatory approvals and close the transaction in a timely manner or at all, the results of Crem International’s operations prior to the closing of the acquisition, our ability to realize the benefits of the acquisition in a manner consistent with our expectations and general integration risks, world economic factors and the ongoing economic and political uncertainty; realization of anticipated earnings enhancements, cost savings, strategic options and other synergies and the anticipated timing to realize those enhancements, savings, synergies, and options; availability of raw materials and changes in raw material prices, commodity prices and hedges in place; the ability to generate cash and manage working capital consistent with our stated goals; changes in the interest rate environment and currency fluctuations; the successful development and market acceptance of innovative new products; actions by competitors including competitive pricing; consumer and customer demand for products; laws and regulations, including changes in laws and regulations and their enforcement around the world; and those additional risks, uncertainties and factors described in more detail under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). We do not intend, and, except as required by law, we undertake no obligation, to update any of our forward-looking statements after the date of this release to reflect any future events or circumstances. Given these risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.