Leading Irish snack producer gets cash injection to push ambitious growth plans

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Rose Confectionery is Ireland's leading producer of wafers. Pic: Rose Confectionery
Rose Confectionery is Ireland's leading producer of wafers. Pic: Rose Confectionery

Related tags Rose Confectionery Melior Equity Partners Ireland

Melior Equity Partners has made a major investment in Rose Confectionery, a producer of biscuits, confectionery and savoury snacks, that also has long-standing freeze pop manufacturing licences with Slush Puppie, Vimto, Robinsons and Tango, among others.

According to Richard Kennedy, group CEO and MD of Rose Confectionery, having grown substantially in the past few years, the time was right for the 30-year-old business to seek a boost.

“Melior Equity Partners are the right team to help us achieve the next phase of our ambitious growth plans and we are delighted to have secured them as investors into our business,”​ said Kennedy.

“After more than 30 years in business and having grown very strongly over the last few years to reach €40 million in sales, we knew it was the right time to seek additional investment to help us continue that growth.”

Established in 1983, Rose operates as three separate divisions – Rose Manufacturing, Rose Confectionery and Rose UK – and is Ireland’s leading manufacturer of mallow and wafer products. The Dublin-headquartered company has long-term freeze pop licence agreements with Slush Puppie, Vimto, Robinsons, Swizzels and Chupa Chups, made at its 18,000 square feet facility in Edenderry in County Offaly.

The right fit

Kennedy added Rose has built its business through a constant focus on new product innovation, its global product sourcing capabilities and its wide distribution network across Ireland and the UK covering most large retailers and convenience stores.

“It was very important for us to get the right partner with the right fit who would recognise and respect the company and leading brand we have created,” ​he said.

“We are very proud of our business, our culture and above all our staff for whom this is positive news, opening up exciting career development opportunities.”   

The decision to partner with Melior was driven by the team’s track record in helping to grow similar Irish food businesses, including Lily O’Brien’s and Carroll Cuisine.

Rose is the third investment from Melior Equity Partners Fund II, backed by a pool of local and international blue-chip investors, including The Carlyle Group, the European Investment Fund, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Bank of Ireland and AIB. The breadth and nature of its investors provide Melior with significant capacity to fund transactions of any scale in the Irish market. 

The undisclosed investment will be used to expand the Rose team, pursue opportunities for international sales and facilitate further new category growth.   

Exciting plans for the future

“We have made great strides in the UK over the past 15 years working with a set of leading brands and developing a position as the preeminent innovator in several categories, including confectionery and freeze in particular,”​ said Steven Watt, MD of Rose Marketing UK.

“We have exciting plans for the future and our partnership with Melior will significantly strengthen our business growth strategy.” 

Rose’s management will remain unchanged, led by Kennedy. Steven Watt and Phelim Daly, MD of Rose Manufacturing, will remain in their current roles and as significant shareholders. Melior’s cofounder Peter Garvey and MD Jonathan Dalton will join the Board as part of the transaction.  

“We are excited to partner with Richard and his team who have grown Rose into a highly successful confectionery and freeze business with a unique set of license relationships, tremendous distribution channels and a wide client base comprising of supermarkets, discounters, convenience stores and wholesalers,”​ said Dalton.

“Through its consistent focus on innovation, the business has been growing at over 20% a year and we believe that we can help the Rose team continue their impressive growth trajectory.

“Rose is making a significant investment in its manufacturing capabilities in Edenderry and we will invest to expand the portfolio of licences and product categories.”  

Melior was advised by PWC, McCann Fitzgerald, KPMG and Food Strategy Associates, while Rose was advised by Grant Thornton and Addelshaw Goddard.  

Related topics Manufacturers Biscuits