A highly regarded, market leading retailer of frozen food.
In March 2001, Montagu backed the management of Picard, the leading French frozen food retailer, in acquiring their business from Carrefour, the world's second largest food retailer.
The €920 million transaction was, at the time, one of the largest Management Buyouts to date in France. Montagu invested €53 million in the deal and was the second biggest investor in a consortium of financial investors led by Candover and Chevrillon-Candover.
Picard is a highly regarded, market leading retailer of frozen food, with, at the time of the transaction, a total of 441 stores throughout France. Over 90% of its product range, which encompassed around 1,000 items, was both manufactured for and sold exclusively through Picard's own retail network. Picard had developed the quality of its products by working with a small number of established suppliers and had created a powerful and respected brand that commanded high customer loyalty. In addition to its French network of shops, Picard also provided home delivery through a telephone and web-based service. It also had a strong presence in Italy with 60 retail outlets.
The management team was led by Xavier Decelle, who was one of the sons of the original founder and who had been involved in the business for more than 15 years. Picard's management identified substantial opportunities for growth within the French market and had already identified approximately 200 new sites to sustain its roll-out strategy over the first five years.
The Corporate Finance and Advisory team of HSBC in France was also involved in the transaction. It advised some members of the Decelle family on the sale of the business and on their reinvestment alongside the financial investors. It was also closely involved in the negotiation and structuring of the management buyout.
The investment was highly successful and, in October 2004, the lead investors sold Picard to BC Partners for an enterprise value in excess of €1.3 billion.