MILAN (Reuters) - Private equity firm BC Partners has struck a deal to buy Italian frozen patisserie, dessert and ice-cream maker Bindi from its founding family, in a deal one source familiar with the matter said was worth around 200 million euros (£169.4 million).
The deal underscores the growing interest among private equity groups for small, usually family-owned companies in the food sector whose products are popular in Italy and abroad.
It follows BC Partners' acquisition of Italian frozen bakery products group Forno d'Asolo in June 2018.
Bindi, a household name in the north of Italy, was founded in 1934 in Milan, just behind the city's Duomo Cathedral. Its selection grew and the company soon became one of the main suppliers of desserts to restaurants, hotels and cafes.
The group reported revenues of more than 140 million euros in 2019.
BC Partners said on Tuesday it would support Bindi's growth plans, including acquisitions in Italy and abroad.
Bindi has two production plants in Italy and a production facility in the United States, where it makes some 40% of its total sales. It sells in over 40 countries, including in North America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, China, Hong Kong and Australia.
A source close to the matter told Reuters a foreign acquisition could be completed as early as the end of the year.
The source added it was reasonable to think the deal gave Bindi an enterprise value of 10 times its core profit, which was 20 million euros in 2018.
Italian food, often associated with quality and artisanship, is drawing growing interest from investors keen to jump on the next popular food trend.
Last week private equity firm Peninsula made a binding offer to buy 23% of Illy Group, the holding company that owns both premium coffee maker Illycaffe and the chocolates, wine and jam businesses of the Illy family, two sources said.
(Reporting by Elisa Anzolin, additional reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Giulia Segreti and Mark Potter)