International coup for Clearwater


Clearwater Corporate Finance has advised the management team at Provimi Pet Food (“PPF”), a leading European manufacturer of pet food from Provimi Group, on its €188 million management buyout by global private equity firm Advent International.

PPF is the third largest producer of private label wet and dry pet food in Europe, supplying approximately 280 customers, including major grocery retailers, in the 27 markets in which it operates. The business, headquartered in Budapest, employs around 1,000 staff and has eight production facilities across Europe. In 2010, the company reported total sales of €236 million.

PPF holds a strong position in its largest markets in Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The growth in the private label pet food market in Central and Eastern Europe is expected to significantly outpace GDP growth over the coming years, driven by higher consumer purchasing power, demographic changes leading to higher pet ownership, as well as increasing acceptance of private label goods by consumers.

The investment by Advent International will support PPF’s growth plans, focused on increasing its market share through organic growth, developing a new range of products and services and entry into new markets.

The Clearwater team that advised the management team was led by managing partner Phil Burns and supported by partner Nick Jones.

Commenting on the acquisition, Phil Burns said: “Provimi Pet Food is in a strong position to capitalise on the growth momentum in the Central and Eastern Europe economy thanks to the significant financial backing provided by Advent. As Europe emerges from recession, we are likely to see more cross-border deals to follow in the coming months as investors and companies seek new opportunities outside of their traditional markets.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Chris Mruck, Managing Partner and Co-Head of Central Europe, Advent International said: “Provimi Group has established PPF as a European market leader. Our investment will build upon these strong foundations, enabling the business to capitalise on the growth opportunities that exist across Europe. PPF is a business with excellent prospects and we look forward to working with the management team to develop the company to its full potential.”

Albena Vassileva, Director with Advent International, added: “Advent’s ability to structure and execute this complex multi-country acquisition is a testament to the strength of our pan-European network and our unrivalled coverage of Central and Eastern Europe. We look forward to supporting the next phase of PPF’s development.”

Attila Balogh, Chief Executive Officer, Provimi Pet Food said: “Advent’s investment in PPF is undoubtedly the start of an exciting new phase in the development of our company. The international experience that Advent has in the retail and consumer sectors as well as its established presence in our core markets in Central and Eastern Europe will be extremely valuable as we grow our business to better meet the needs of our customer base.”

Mark Beardmore and Tim Lake of DLA Piper provided legal advice to the management team. Advent was advised by Leonardo & Co (M&A), CMS (Legal) and Deloitte (Financial Diligence). The acquisition debt is arranged by Erste Group Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International and UniCredit.

The transaction is expected to complete within the next two months following regulatory and works council processes.