Enterprise Investors has received a $5 million (PLN20.5 million) investment in Polish ice-cream manufacturer Zielona Budka-Zbigniew Grycan SA. Enterprise Investors currently holds 12.3% of the company’s shares and will become the majority shareholder by the end of the year. The investment was made through the Polish Enterprise Fund IV (see evcj June 2000, page 13), one of the four funds managed by Enterprise Investors, which has been investing in the region for ten years. PEF IV acquired shares from Paribas Affaires Industrialles which has been the main investor and minority shareholder in the company since 1998.
Zielona Budka was founded in 1947 as a family ice-cream parlour in Warsaw. Zbigniew Grycan bought the business in 1980 and has successfully developed the company into a well-recognised brand name in Poland with an estimated market share of 11 per cent.
Zbigniew Grycan said: “Zielona Budka has been expanding rapidly for the last decade and has come to the point where it needs a strong business partner to take the company to the next level of its development.”
Currently the company’s distribution is through major supermarkets, large restaurant chains and 33,000 branded freezers in retail outlets. Zielona Budka has also developed 26 franchised cafes. It is anticipated that this number will be increased to 100 by next year. The new capital injection will be used to strengthen the company’s presence, increase market penetration, enter new distribution channels as well as provide sales support to its distributors and franchises.
Last year the company moved its production plant to Mielec, a tax-exempt zone in southeast Poland; 20,000 tons of ice cream are produced there annually. Zielona Budka’s sales amounted to $21 million (PLN88 million) in 2000. This year the company is introducing new products and hopes to increase sales from 15 million litres last year, to 17 million litres in 2001.