Mid Europa Partners buys Danube Foods Group for reported €575mn

By bne IntelliNews February 4, 2015

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Private equity firm Mid Europa Partners will pay €575mn for a majority stake in Netherlands-based Danube Foods Group, which runs some of Serbia's most famous companies including dairy firms Imlek and Mlekara Subotica, broadcaster B92 reported on February 3, quoting information from the two companies.

Mid Europa, one of the biggest buyout firms focussing on Central and Eastern Europe, announced on January 2 that it has signed a binding agreement to buy Danube Foods Group, and expects  to wrap up the transaction in the first half of 2015. However, it did not reveal the value of the deal.

According to B92, the transaction was executed with the help of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), UniCredit, Raiffeisen, ING, BNP Paribas and Citibank.

Via the acquisition, Mid Europa is taking over Imlek and Mlekara Subotica's operations in Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia, representing the largest dairy business in the region. Also part of the acquisition are mineral water bottler Knjaz Milos and confectionery maker Bambi-Banat, both leaders in their sectors in Serbia.

UK-based investment fund Salford, part of which is Danube Foods Group, unsuccessfully tried to sell some of the group's assets in 2012. The sale of Imlek and Mlekara Subotica to Royal FrieslandCampina failed in the final stage of the takeover because of disagreements over the price.

Mid Europa had a key role in Serbia's internet and telecommunications market prior to selling its holdings in the United Group, Southeast Europe’s leading regional Pay TV platform, to US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for €1bn in March 2014. United Group comprises Serbia's largest cable operator Serbia Broadband (SBB) and the largest cable operator in Slovenia and Bosnia, Telemach, along with another 15 smaller firms. 

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