Nowaco spins off arm to private equity firms

Danish foods distributor Nowaco is selling its Central European arm to JP Morgan and Bancroft. JP Morgan Partners, the US$13bn private equity arm of investment bank JP Morgan Chase that is being spun out next year, and Bancroft Private Equity, a Central European private equity firm based in the UK, have agreed to buy a subsidiary of Denmark-listed Nowaco for €90m (US$113m).

Based in Kralupy in the Czech Republic and founded in 1990, Nowaco Central Europe is a distributor of chilled and frozen foods in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Its main brands are Nowaco for frozen and chilled foods and Prima for ice cream.

Fred Martin, managing partner of Bancroft, said: “As consumer habits and living standards of Central Europe continue to converge with those of the EU, we believe Nowaco CE is well positioned to continue growing its business.”

Danish food products distributor, trader and producer Nowaco Group at the end of March reported earnings before interest and tax slightly down at DKr69.5m (US$11.7m) for 2004, compared with 2003’s DKr74.4m, on increased turnover of DKr2.53bn against DKr2.35bn.

Linklaters served as legal adviser to the buyers, while Deloitte provided financial due diligence.