Joining forces to challenge the dominating grocery chains

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Merger plans between Adams Matkasse and in Norway: Joining forces to challenge the dominating grocery chains

Merger plans between Adams Matkasse and in Norway: Joining forces to challenge the dominating grocery chains

The two online dinner bag providers, Adams Matkasse and are joining forces and intend to finalize a merger. With this, they will be able to challenge the three dominating grocery chains in Norway.
“Both Adams and have since the start had a strong ambition and desire to increase the competition in the Norwegian grocery market. Through this merger, we will become a real contender to the established grocery chains”, says the founder Kjetil Graver. He is convinced that the merger will result in substantial cost synergies, which is crucial to compete against the grocery chains’ scale advantages.Kjetil Graver and his co-founders are now merging the company they established in 2010 with the Bergen-based dinner bag provider Adams Matkasse. The shareholders of will receive shares in Linas Matkasse as payment. Linas Matkasse, a company backed by the Norwegian private equity firm Herkules Capital, owns more than 90% of Adams Matkasse.Adams Matkasse and have an annual revenue base of NOK 330 and 390 million and close to 25 000 and 30 000 customers respectively. The two brands will continue to operate as separate concepts, and resources will be committed to further strengthen and enhance the two brands.Adams Matkasse has 74 employees, while employs about 65 people. Both companies have during the last years focused heavily on finding local suppliers across the country who have a great sense of traditional heritage. This has contributed to additional growth and has increased employment at several smaller food suppliers outside the larger cities.

“Our disruptive business model is based on excluding expensive intermediaries like the large wholesalers. Instead, we offer high quality products delivered directly from the manufacturers. These quality conscious and traditional suppliers are too small to get shelf space at the large grocery chains. Thus, the merger will provide these manufacturers with a much greater opportunity to reach a national audience”, says Managing Director at Adams Matkasse, Veslemøy Tvedt Fredriksen.

With this transaction, Herkules takes another big bite of the Nordic grocery market. In 2015,  Herkules acquired 35% of the shares of Linas Matkasse. Linas will own 100% of the newly merged company.

“This transaction fits into our long-term strategy to focus on the grocery market both in Norway and internationally. We feel that this structure and business model can credibly challenge the established players and make money at the same time. Herkules can contribute with both growth capital and considerable industry knowledge”, says Sverre B. Flåskjer Managing Partner at Herkules Capital.

The merger is subject to approval from the Norwegian competition authority.

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Ferd invests into improving fish health and sustainability within aquaculture

Forbedret fiskehelse og bærekraft i global oppdrettsnæring

Ferd has, through an equity issue and market transactions, achieved an ownership in Benchmark Holdings Plc of approx. 17%. Benchmark contributes to improved fish health and sustainability across aquaculture species, through sales of specialised nutrition, genetics and health products.

Benchmark is headquartered in the UK and was founded in 2000 by a visionary and energetic management team that during the past couple of years has completed a number of acquisitions in Norway, Belgium and Iceland. Benchmark has approximately 900 employees across 27 countries and reported a 2016 revenue of GBP 109 million and an EBITDA before R&D expenses of GBP 22m. Benchmark is listed on the UK AIM list with a market capitalisation just north of GBP 500 million.

The global aquaculture industry has grown by approximately 9% annually during the past 15 years, driven by an increasing population, increasing incomes and high demand for healthy food. The growth in aquaculture going forward is expected to become somewhat more moderate, mainly because there across all species have been substantial challenges related to fish health and sustainability. The salmon farming industry has developed more solutions for maintaining biological control than farmers for other species. However, the salmon industry still faces challenges with sea lice, disease outbreaks, reducing harvest weights, a loss from mortalities and escapes of approx. 20% per generation, in addition to rapidly increasing costs related to treatments. For other aquaculture species than salmon, efforts are only just beginning in relation to securing biological control and sustainability.

Ferd believes that Benchmark is uniquely positioned to contribute with sustainable and cost efficient solutions for improving fish health across aquaculture species. Benchmark’s activities mainly focuses on three segments:

  • A leading global position within sales of specialised feed and health products for shrimp and seabass / seabream through the subsidiary INVE. Benchmark delivers starter feeds for hatcheries, where there are particularly high quality requirements for growing robust fish
  • A leading global position with salmonid breeding and genetics, through the subsidiaries Salmobreed and Stofnfiskur, where advanced genetic selection is applied in order to pick individuals that grow fast and are resistant to particular biological challenges such as sea lice. Within breeding and genetics, Benchmark has recently expanded into the market for tilapia and shrimp
  • A major effort in developing treatments and vaccines. Benchmark has for many years sold the Salmosan sea lice treatment, and has since 2011 invested heavily into developing a pipeline of vaccines and for the construction of a state-of-the-art vaccine production facility. Benchmark launched its first in-house developed vaccine in 2016, and several launches are expected in the years to come targeting some of the largest challenges within aquaculture

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AAC and management acquire organic pet food brand Yarrah from Vendis

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AAC Capital ( “AAC” ), a leading Benelux mid-market buyout firm, today announced the acquisition of Yarrah Organic Petfood B.V. ( “Yarrah” ) from Vendis Capital ( “Vendis” ). Yarrah is a leading European organic pet food brand with its headquarters in Harderwijk, the Netherlands. The management team of Yarrah, led by CEO Bas van Tongeren, will invest alongside AAC.

Yarrah is the leading organic pet food brand in Europe with a complete range of organic products for cats and dogs. All products are certified organic, which means all animal and plant ingredients need to live up to the highest quality restrictions to comply with the organic seal, meaning a.o. no exposure to chemical additives or preservatives, no use of hormones, but also maintaining high animal welfare standards for livestock used. The company supplies dry food (in bags) and wet food (both multi serve in cans and single serve in aluminium trays).

There is a trend towards pet owners feeding their cats and dogs organic food, driven by consumers who are becoming increasingly conscious of their own health and nutrition. Yarrah is ideally positioned to leverage on this trend as the European market leader in the organic pet food niche. Since Yarrah was founded in 1992, the company expanded its footprint beyond the Netherlands and currently serves health conscious pet owners in its core markets Germany, France and the Netherlands.

This is the fourth platform acquisition for AAC’s Benelux focussed Fund, and matches perfectly with AAC’s philosophy of supporting local champions in their growth ambitions.

Bas van Tongeren, CEO Yarrah, says:

“We are proud of the partnership with Vendis, through which we have successfully grown further in the organic market, and laid the foundation for our ambitions into pet specialty. In AAC we have found the perfect partner to support us in the next leg of our journey. The partnership with AAC will allow us to expand into upcoming organic markets and accelerate our expansion in the pet retail channel.”

Marc Staal, Chairman at AAC, says:

“Yarrah is operating in a growing ‘on-trend’ niche market as the European specialist in organic pet food. Bas van Tongeren and his team have a clear vision and philosophy: providing a healthy and sustainable pet food alternative to what is currently on offer in the market. Yarrah takes a leading role in pure organic pet food; food that’s not only better for pets, but for all animals. Yarrah’s view on its future business development, both in terms of geographies, distribution channels and new product development are well defined and being executed with high momentum. AAC is excited to be partnering with Yarrah and keen to facilitate Bas and his team to deliver upon their continuing growth ambitions.”

Michiel Deturck, Partner at Vendis, says:

“Yarrah is a leading brand operating in a fast-developing niche and we are very happy that Yarrah found a strong partner with AAC that can support the next growth phase of the company. We want to thank the management team for a very pleasant and successful partnership and wish the team all the best with its new partner.”



Notes to Editors

About AAC Capital

With offices in Amsterdam and Antwerp, AAC is a leading Benelux mid-market buy-out firm, which has to-date completed 30 management buyouts, of which 24 have been realised. It targets opportunities for majority stakes in profitable, cash-generative companies headquartered in the Benelux. AAC’s deal size is typically between €10 and €150 million, and it is currently investing from its third, Benelux focussed fund. AAC is a growth-oriented investor, with such companies in its portfolio as Desotec, Corilus, Lubbers Transport Group and Hobré Instruments.

About Vendis Capital

Vendis Capital is an independent private equity firm focused on building and investing in small to medium-sized branded consumer companies in Europe that are well positioned for value-creating growth or transformation. Vendis Capital aims to enter into partnerships with experienced entrepreneurs and managers to support the growth of their companies. The Vendis team operates out of 3 offices located in the Netherlands, Belgium and France.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Hill + Knowlton Strategies Nederland

Ariën Stuijt


T: +31 20 404 47 07


Categories: News


NPM Capital buys together with Kramp management shares from Schouw

NPM Capital and the management of Kramp reached in consultation with Schouw shareholder agreement to acquire the 20% interest of the Danish investment company in Kramp. Kramp in 2013 merged with its rival Grene, at that time owned by Schouw & Co. After the merger, Schouw received a 20% stake in the combined company.

NPM Capital, which has a stake since 2010 Kramp, the largest technical wholesale for the agricultural sector in Europe has been very constructive cooperation with Schouw after the merger in 2013. Johan Terpstra, Investment Director at NPM Capital said in a note: “Kramp and Grene already formed a very good team. We have achieved after the merger of the two organizations together all the stops to the synergies we actually realize asked us when goal. With this step we underline that we want to stay a long time on board and to facilitate Kramp management in realizing its growth ambitions. “

Eddie Perdok CEO of Kramp shows to be pleased with the expansion of the interest in Kramp. “Kramp is a great company with an excellent market position in Europe. We have engaged and motivated employees and together we are working hard to get it back to do a little better every day. With this strengthening of our ownership position we underline the confidence in our organization and in our management and in our future. “

The transaction expected to close before the end of 2016.

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Nestlé and R&R to create Froneri, an ice cream and frozen food joint venture

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PAI Partners

Nestlé and R&R, a leading ice cream company based in the UK, have agreed to set up Froneri, a joint venture with sales of around CHF 2.7 billion in over 20 countries employing about 15,000 people.

Froneri will be headquartered in the UK and will operate primarily in Europe, the Middle East (excluding Israel), Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa. The new company will combine Nestlé and R&R’s ice cream activities in the relevant countries and will include Nestlé’s European frozen food business (excluding pizza and retail frozen food in Italy), as well as its chilled dairy business in the Philippines. The transaction is subject to employee consultations and the approval of regulatory authorities. Financial details are not being disclosed.

Paul Bulcke, Nestlé CEO:
“This is an exciting growth opportunity in a dynamic category. Froneri will capitalise on complementary strengths and innovation expertise, combining Nestlé’s strong and successful brands and experience in ‘out-of-home’ distribution with R&R’s competitive manufacturing model and significant presence in retail.”

Ibrahim Najafi, R&R Ice Cream CEO:
“I am thrilled about the potential of Froneri and the opportunity for R&R to combine with the biggest and best food business in the world. R&R has gone from strength to strength in the last few years and the blend of people from the two organisations will create a leading team, ideally suited to drive future growth.”
Frédéric Stévenin, Partner at PAI Partners: “Froneri, through the combination of Nestlé’s and R&R’s expertise, and the backing of PAI Partners, is a unique and exciting opportunity for further strong growth. We look forward to further leveraging our industrial approach to ownership and strong consumer expertise to support R&R in this new venture.”

Luis Cantarell, Nestlé Executive Vice President Europe, Middle East and North Africa, will chair Froneri’s Board of Directors which will be composed of three senior Nestlé executives and three senior executives appointed by private equity firm PAI Partners, R&R’s owner. Ibrahim Najafi will be Froneri CEO. Nestlé and PAI will have equal equity interests in the joint venture.

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Herkules IV acquires Olivia AS

Herkules IV acquires Olivia AS

(Oslo, 22 December 2015) Herkules Private Equity Fund IV has entered into an agreement with Drueklasen AS to acquire Oliva AS, Norway’s largest Italian restaurant chain. Herkules considers Olivia, with its authentic Italian concept, strong brand and successful restaurants, to represent a powerful foundation for further growth and expansion.
Olivia employs more than 200 people in 3 restaurants in Oslo. The company serves authentic Italian food focusing on high quality pasta and pizza dishes as well as various Italian food specialities. Estimated turnover in 2015 is approximately NOK 175 million with an EBITDA of close to NOK 30 million.The founders Kristin Gjelseth, Anne Koppang and Gry Holm will retain a minority interest and contribute to further development of Olivia: “It has been our ambition to expand Olivia nationwide. Together with Herkules, we will have the competence, the capacity and the financial resources to accomplish this ambition over the next few years”.

“We are impressed by the outstanding track record, the strong culture and the enthusiasm in the organization. Olivia holds the x-factor that makes people want to return again and again. They have consistently shown a higher turnover per unit than other restaurants, due to the compelling brand that Olivia has become. We believe there is a strong potential for further growth, and we expect to leverage our experience from Espresso House”, says Sverre Flåskjer, Managing Partner at Herkules Capital.

Tone Wicklund-Hansen, CEO at Olivia, says that “Based on the strong Olivia brand, the concept and the success we have experienced, we are determined to expand the Olivia concept over the next 5 years. We really look forward to work with Herkules and the founders to grow the business rapidly”.

The plan for expansion is set by the management team and the owners. The ambitious plan for expansion calls for immediate action, whereas the search for new locations in all the large and medium sized cities in Norway, has already begun.

Herkules Private Equity Fund IV acquires a majority of the shares of Olivia AS from Drueklasen AS for an undisclosed amount. Closing of the transaction is planned to take place in January 2016.

Contact: Sverre Flåskjer, Managing Partner at Herkules Capital Telephone: +47 22 04 80 09 /+47 48 11 04 66

Tone Wicklund-Hansen, CEO at Olivia Telephone: +47 90 62 01 70

Spokesperson for the founders, Kristin Gjelseth

Telephone: +47 93 44 80 52

About Olivia: Olivia is Norway’s largest authentic Italian restaurant chain with 3 units located at Aker Brygge, Tjuvholmen and Hegdehaugsveien in Oslo. The first restaurant was founded in 2006 by Kristin Gjelseth, Anne Koppang and Gry Holm. Today Olivia employs over 200 people with a turnover of about NOK 175 million.

Herkules is a leading Private Equity firm in Norway and has raised funds with committed capital totalling approximately NOK 15 billion. We invest in companies located in the Nordic region, primarily in Norway, and acquire majority interests in established businesses with strong growth potential. We have a proven experience in working in partnership with existing shareholders. Our approach to ownership is industrial and long term, and is built on fundamental respect for the history, culture and experience within each individual company. More information can be found at

Herkules was advised by Schjødt, PWC and BCG.

Drueklasen was advised by Handelsbanken and Selmer.

Categories: News


Investment in Planctonic AS


Investinor invests MEUR 0.77 (MNOK 7) in Planktonic AS, which offers cutting-edge «baby food» for farmed fish fry.

Planktonic aims to remove a bottleneck for growth in the global aquaculture industry: the initial feeding of fry.

One of the reasons why anadromous* fish species, such as salmon and trout, have been so successful as farmed fish is that their young are relatively well developed when they hatch. Salmon and trout fry are therefore capable of digesting dried feed from day one.

Fry from the majority of other farmed species, particularly those which live their entire lives in saltwater, so-called marine species*, are far less developed, and therefore far less robust, when they hatch.

These fry must therefore be fed a diet based on live plankton until they are mature enough to eat dried fish feed. The feed must also be of a very high quality if the fry are to survive and grow.

The quality of the live feed that is available on the market today is unsuitable for many fish species. It is also labour-intensive for the fish farmers to use and extremely expensive. The initial feeding of fish fry is therefore a major bottleneck for the further expansion of the global aquaculture industry.

Enabling cost cuts
Planktonic supplies a type of initial feed that in tests has proved to dramatically improve survival and growth rates among hatchlings. In addition, the feed is cost-effective and easy for fish farmers to use.

«Planktonic’s feed products could enable several marine species that the industry has so far had no success with to be farmed profitably. This could therefore be of huge significance for the international seafood sector,» says Ronny Vikdal, head of investment at Investinor.

Small company, massive potential
Planktonic AS was founded in 2008 by Nils Tokle and Håvard Aakerøy. Nils Tokle is a marine biologist and a leading researcher in his field, while Håvard Aakerøy has many years’ experience of managing fish farming operations.

The company currently has four employees, and generated revenues of NOK 3.6 million in 2014.

Investinor already has a portfolio of marine investments: Nordic Halibut (fish farming), Smartfish (medicinal nutrition), Ayanda (Omega 3 products) and Cryogenetics (breeding technology).

Start-feed for marine fish fry is a growing international market, which generated combined revenues of NOK 7.5 billion in 2014. NOK 2.5 billion of this came from live feed.

The global market for the farming of marine (saltwater) fish species in 2014 totalled approx. NOK 60 billion.

Planktonic is raising a total of MEUR 1 (MNOK 10) in this round.

In addition to Investinor other shareholders in the company are its founders and a group of business angels.

Investinor already has a portfolio of marine investments: Nordic Halibut (fish farming), Smartfish (medicinal nutrition), Ayanda (Omega 3 products) and Cryogenetics (breeding technology).

* Anadromous species, such as salmon and trout, lay their eggs in freshwater, where the young spend the first stages of their lives before eventually migrating downstream to the sea. Marine species live their entire lives in saltwater. Examples of marine species that are currently being farmed include sea bass, sea bream and halibut.

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