Zurich, Switzerland-based Aryzta, one of the world’s foremost suppliers of frozen baked goods, has acquired 49% ownership of Fontainebleau, France-headquartered Picard Surgelés S.A.S., a frozen food retailer operating more than 950 stores in Europe. It paid EUR 444.6 million for the stake, and will have an option to acquire 100% of the company in three to five years.
Ringing up approximately EUR 1.4 billion in sales per annum, Picard employs 4,500 people and sells more than 1,100 types of frozen products ranging from fruits and vegetables to fish and seafood, starters and appetizers, entrees, pastries, pizza, cakes, pies, other baked goods, ice cream other desserts.
Picard’s share of the frozen food market in France, where most of its shops are located, is approximately 20%. The company also operates stores in Italy, Sweden and Belgium, and sells products in Japan through a partnership with the Aeon Group.
Aryzta, an Irish-Swiss food group with roots dating back to 1897 when founded as the Irish Co-Operative Agricultural Agency Society, produces the Delice de France range of bread products and high-end artisan breads. The company, which also makes sweet baked goods, muffins, pizza, tarts and pies, became the largest bakery in the world after purchasing major baking operations in Germany and North America in 2014. It operates more than 60 baked goods plants and kitchens, including facilities in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Revenues last year topped EUR 3.4 billion.
Lion Capital owns the 51% majority stake in Picard. When Aryzta made its offer to buy 49% of the retailer on March 31, Lyndon Lea, a Lion Capital partner, commented: “We look forward to partnering with Aryzta during the next phase of our investment in Picard. Since our acquisition of Picard in 2010, we have worked closely with its management team to develop and grow the business.”