29 mei 2012

AAC Benelux new growth partner Salad Signature

Amsterdam,29 May 2012


AAC Capital Partners Benelux, a leading mid-market buy-out firm, today announced its intention to acquire Gilde Equity Management Benelux’ stake in Salad Signature NV (“Salad Signature”), with the aim to support management to continue to grow the company going forward, both in its existing home markets and internationally.

The transaction is subject to approval of the Dutch and Belgium Competition Authorities. The Dutch Works Council is currently being consulted on the transaction.


Salad Signature is a leading producer of chilled spreadable salads and convenience food, both in Belgium and the Netherlands. The Salad Signature Group consists of operating companies Hamal  Signature, Johma and Westland. The company is a market leader in the Benelux, and focuses on  its portfolio of strong brands, comprising Hamal, VH and Délio in Belgium, and Johma and  Westland in the Netherlands. It operates production facilities in Turnhout, Belgium, and Losser and The Hague in the Netherlands, and employs approximately 350 staff.


Since 2006, under Gilde Equity Management Benelux ownership, Salad Signature has successfully doubled its activities, amongst others through the acquisitions of Johma and Westland, and established a strong and unique market position. Management’s new partnership with AAC Capital Partners Benelux is a logical next step in the development of Salad Signature, as AAC has the track record and funds available to accelerate management’s international growth strategy.


Davy De Muyer, CEO of Salad Signature, says:
“We are proud of the development of Salad Signature into the Benelux market leader in spreadable salads. Since our independence in 2006, we have continuously focused on improvements in product quality and innovations. With Délio and Johma being the single A-brands in the category,  we are confident to be able to further expand the business.”


Erik Bras, CEO of Johma, says:
“We are looking forward to team up with AAC Capital Partners Benelux. Together, we are committed to continue providing our customers with the best products in its category, underpinned by constant innovation. With AAC’s track record in facilitating international growth, we believe to have found a truly like-minded partner.”


Marc Staal, Managing Partner of AAC Capital Partners Benelux, adds:
“We are greatly impressed with the quality of this management team and their achievements to date, creating a solid Benelux platform for chilled  convenience foods ready for international expansion. We support Salad Signature’s growth ambition, and are geared up to be a strong partner in its expansion strategy.”


Bas Glas, Partner of Gilde Equity Management Benelux says:
“We are extremely proud to have supported the company and enjoyed working together with the management team in building the Salad Signature Group to Benelux market leader. We are confident the Group will continue its successful track record and wish management and AAC all the best in further growing this unique company.”



Advisors to AAC Capital Partners Benelux were:

Debt financing: ING Bank (Belgium and The Netherlands),
BNP Paribas Fortis, Rabobank and Belfius
Legal: De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Eubelius
Commercial due diligence: OC&C Strategy Consultants
Financial and tax due diligence: KPMG
Operational due diligence: Newton

Advisors to Gilde Equity Management Benelux were:
M&A: Rabobank International
Legal: Simmons & Simmons
Tax due diligence: Tax Consultancy, PWC Tax Belgium
Financial and Operational due diligence: Deloitte Transaction Services

Advisors to management were:
Finance: Nielen Schuman Legal: Loyens & Loeff Tax: Perreira Consultants

About Salad Signature NV:
Salad Signature NV is a leading producer of high quality chilled spreadable salads and convenience food in the Benelux. The Salad Signature Group consists of the Dutch subsidiaries Johma and Westland, and the Belgian subsidiary Hamal Signature, all of which have a rich and longstanding history originating from the 1960s. The Group is well known for its Dutch heritage A-brand Johma and the niche brand Westland, as well as the longstanding out of home brands Hamal and VH, and the successfully launched A-brand Délio in Belgium. At financial year-end March 2012, Salad Signature generated net sales of circa €140 million.

About AAC Capital Partners:
AAC Capital Partners is a leading mid-market buy-out firm. In the Benelux, the firm focuses on buy-outs within the €50-€350 million deal range in the consumer, industrial and services sectors. It targets opportunities for majority stakes in profitable, cash-generative companies. AAC Capital Partners currently has €1.7 billion total funds under management. Most recent transactions in the Benelux include Orangefield Trust and Desotec.

About Gilde Equity Management Benelux:
Gilde Equity Management Benelux is a private equity investor, focused on realising smaller mid-market management buy-outs in the Benelux region, with €500 million of assets under management. Examples of investments include Dunlop Protective Footwear, the European market leader in protective footwear operating under the Dunlop brand; HG International, a branded supplier of specialist cleaning products and Actief Interim, one of the largest independent staffing companies in Belgium.


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