PAI Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Paris, has agreed to buy La Compagnie des Desserts (LCDD), a leading premium frozen desserts supplier to the foodservice market, from independent European investment fund Argos Wityu. Under terms of the deal, Credit Mutuel Equity, which held 20% of the shares alongside Argos Wityu, also exits completely, having supported the Barral family, founders of LCDD, since 2005.
Based in France, LCDD produces, sells and distributes a wide range of frozen pastries and artisanal ice cream to more than 23,000 foodservice customers in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and elsewhere in Europe. The company operates seven manufacturing facilities and six logistic platforms.
PAI, through its fund dedicated to mid-market opportunities, will partner with LCDD to expand as a pan-European leader in premium frozen desserts through gaining further market share, optimizing its footprint and accelerating international expansion, both organically and through acquisitions.
The private equity firm will draw on deep experience in the food and consumer sector to help LCDD continue to adapt to evolving trends, such as low-sugar and plant-based products. PAI has completed 33 buyouts in the food and consumer sector since inception, with an established track record of partnering with management teams to rapidly scale businesses and build global industry leaders.
Argos Wityu acquired LCDD in 2016 and worked closely with the management team, almost doubling revenues and the team to reach €117 million and over 700, respectively, during the partnership. LCDD successfully replicated its business model in the UK, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, established operations in Switzerland and the USA, and expanded through three strategic acquisitions in Britain, Spain and France. The company entered new foodservice segments such as leisure, takeaway and dark kitchens, and introduced vegan and environmentally responsible products.
“Argos and LCDD have made the company the leading premium frozen desserts supplier for the foodservice market. The acquisition by PAI Partners validates the Company’s strategy, recognizes the work it has accomplished and represents an exciting next phase with further growth possibilities,” said CEO Philippe Bonny and Sylvain Bertrand, general manager of LCDD, in a joint statement.
Stefano Drago, founding partner at the PAI Mid-Market Fund, remarked: “We’re delighted to be partnering with LCDD to support its strategy to become a pan-European leader in premium frozen desserts. The company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for outsourced dessert preparation across hotels, restaurants and catering businesses, driven by their need to innovate and manage labour shortages in the industry.”