Groneweg Group - Squarefield

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Groneweg Group

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Squarefield acted as exclusive financial advisor to VR Equitypartner and the other shareholders on the sale of Groneweg Group to Thrive Foods

On June 22, 2023, the shareholders of Groneweg Group (or the “Company”), VR Equitypartner and the Groneweg family, entered into a definitive agreement to divest the Company to Thrive Foods (“Thrive”). The transaction will create a strong and competitive player in food freeze-drying − from herbs, fruits and vegetables to proteins, probiotics, enzymes, and prepared meals. The transaction is expected to close in 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including certain governmental approvals. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Groneweg is a global manufacturer and supplier offering a broad product portfolio of freeze- and air-dried products and the world market leader in freeze-dried herbs. The Company covers the entire value chain, including sourcing high-quality raw materials, contract farming, freeze-drying and packaging. It serves a diversified customer base across consumer-packaged goods and retail companies from a multi-national footprint with manufacturing operations in Greven, Germany, where it is headquartered, and in La Joya, Peru.

VR Equitypartner had acquired a significant minority stake in November 2017. Since then, a consistent growth strategy has been executed with market entry in further European countries, an expansion of presence throughout North America and the further acquisition of shares in companies in Latin America. In addition, the product range was expanded and new strategic supply partnerships ensured a high level of supply capability, which has proved particularly valuable in the challenging past years.

Thrive is a portfolio company of Entrepreneurial Equity Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on the food and consumer packaged goods industries and Mubadala Capital, the wholly owned asset management subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, a leading global sovereign investor headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Thrive manufacturers freeze-dried products, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, pet treats, probiotics, enzymes, and prepared meals. Thrive currently has facilities in California, Utah, New York, and Wisconsin.

With the acquisition, Thrive adds Groneweg’s extensive freeze-dried offerings to its product suite. Furthermore, a very experienced and enthusiastic management team joins the Thrive family and Thrive will be able to offer customers a globally diversified network of drying locations, robust quality control, and an efficient distribution network. Groneweg and Thrive envisage strong collaborative opportunities in several end-markets as well as diversifying the customer base. Groneweg has a strong foothold in Europe and South America, that Thrive could benefit from.

Groneweg Group

Groneweg Group, headquartered in Greven, Germany, offers freeze-dried ingredients, culinary trends and food technologies for the international food industry and food retail. More than 700 employees in various companies at locations in Europe, the USA, Latin America and Asia are part of a globally active group of companies. With in-depth knowledge of culinary trends around the globe, customised food concepts and innovative solutions for the food industry are developed.

“I would like to thank the Squarefield team for their continuous support during the entire transaction phase. Me and my team felt very well supported during multiple conversations with the investor. Not to forget that we always enjoyed working with Squarefield on a trusted personal level.”

Karl-Heinz Waszik – Managing Director Groneweg Group

Thrive Foods

Thrive is the most versatile freeze-dry company in the world. With locations around the globe, its capabilities and expertise are unmatched. Thrive manufacturers freeze-dried products, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, pet treats, probiotics, enzymes, and prepared meals. Thrive currently has facilities in California, Utah, New York, and Wisconsin. Thrive prides itself in its ability to serve as a technical expert and flexible manufacturing partner for customers.

VR Equitypartner

VR Equitypartner is one of the leading equity financiers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The company supports medium-sized family businesses in a goal-oriented manner and with decades of experience in the strategic solution of complex financing issues. Investment opportunities include growth and expansion financing, corporate succession or shareholder changes. VR Equitypartner offers majority and minority shareholdings as well as mezzanine financing. As a subsidiary of DZ BANK, the central institution of the cooperative banks in Germany, VR Equitypartner consistently puts the sustainability of corporate development before short-term exit thinking. VR Equitypartner’s portfolio currently comprises around 60 commitments with an investment volume of EUR 400 million.

“We enjoyed working with Squarefield, which was a reliable and trustworthy sparring partner during the whole transaction phase. The contribution of the transaction team led to a successful outcome for all parties.”

Peter Sachse – Managing Director VR Equitypartner