European equity firm sells remaining investments in Swedish Pick & Mix firm Candyking, the movement comes after a supplier fire forced the confectioner to remove a public offering of shares from the market.
EQT Expansion Capital said it had signed a deal with Nordic-focused Accent Equity to sell its remaining investment in Candyking after the last installment of a mezzanine loan - a debt system giving the lender the right to convert to an ownership or equity interest in the company if the full loan is not paid back in time - issued in 2008 was repaid to EQT in January this year. The loan had been coupled with a minority investment of around 15% of Candyking company shares.
The development follows a failed attempt from Candyking to become a public company, after it was forced to withdraw its $76.2m share offering due to fires at two of its suppliers in December last year.
Talking after this latest investment development the company’s business development manager, Henrik Jacobson, told ConfectioneryNews that the problems related to the fire had been resolved. “We still have an agreement with Lutti and affected products have been replaced in all stores,” he said.
Jacobson said the transaction between EQT and Accent would not affect Candyking’s daily business.
The Pick & Mix firm responded to the fire setback by issuing a four-year SEK 750 million ($116.5m) bond in January as an alternative way of financing its growth plans, meaning it would remain a private company. The company’s CEO David von Laskowski quit his role soon after.
“Since Candyking will continue to operate in a private environment, I have decided to leave the company,” he said at the time, although he added that he was pleased the company had secured a long-term option.
Eastern Europe divestment
As part of its growth plans the company said it would pull back from “unprofitable” Central European markets in Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic to focus instead on Poland.
The firm said today that it did not have any new information on this plan, but that the strategy still stood.
“We are focusing on Poland where we see a potential for growth. We are working close together with our customers in order to develop our business,” Jacobson said.