Waterland is about to raise the capital of United Petfood significantly to further finance the growth of the pet food producer. As a result, the investment fund will soon own a majority stake, in addition to the founding family Dumoulin.
United Petfood is a Ghent family business that produces dry dog and cat food, as well as biscuits and snacks for those pets. It does not have its own brands, but produces for brand producers without their own production as well as for the private labels of supermarkets and e-commerce players.
Waterland came on board in 2016 to support the growth of the group. The investment fund bought a 50 percent interest. At the time, United Petfood accounted for a turnover of 120 million euros and a gross operating profit (EBITDA) of 21 million. With Waterland on board, the growth of United Petfood was boosted, both under its own steam and through a series of acquisitions.
United Petfood has since expanded in Spain (through the acquisition of Bynsa), the Netherlands (Animal Lovers, IAMS and Jonker), Italy (Effeffe), France (Crusty) and Romania (Nordic Petfood). The group – with a turnover of more than 600 million and an EBITDA of about 95 million – is the European market leader in dry food for dogs and cats.
This growth did not go unnoticed by other investors and at the end of last year the founding family discussed further financing for the growth.
According to our information, that strategic exercise went a long way. An investment bank (Evercore) was hired and various parties examined the file, including Sofina
and Jacobs Holding of the Swiss family of the same name.
But Waterland wants to continue the growth path at United Petfood and will pump money into the Ghent group, De Tijd learned. As a result, it acquires the majority of United Petfood. The Dumoulin family would keep a significant minority, Dominiek Dumoulin would remain chairman and the family member Dries Eekchout CEO. Parallel work is being done on a refinancing of the bank debt.
It is not known to which valuation the operation would take place. The unofficial amounts circulating about the value of United Petfood make you dizzy. Observers believe that the group, including debts, is worth more than 1 billion euros.
Pending that deal, United Petfood is continuing its growth. It bought its sector colleague Cambrian last week. The British company, with a turnover of 36 million euros and an EBITDA of 4.4 million, specializes in the production of dry pet food and wet pet food under the private label of distributors, both in tubs and in tins. With Cambrian, United Petfood is taking an important step in wet food for dogs and cats.
United Petfood’s appetite for takeover has not yet been satisfied. “We have already made many acquisitions, but our intention is to make additional deals in Europe in new countries or countries in which we are already active,” said Dominiek Dumoulin at the end of February in response to the Cambrian deal.
The Ghent company was not affected by the corona crisis last year, he says. Pets continued to eat. We have not had a negative impact from corona. Last year we were 10 percent organic with the entire group (takeovers not included, ed.) has grown. There may even be a positive effect, because many people have bought a pet. ‘
Neither Waterland nor United Petfood wanted to comment.
- Revenue: more than 600 million euros.
- Gross operating profit (EBITDA): 95 million euros.
- Number of factories: 17, in eight countries.
- Number of employees: 1,200.
- Shareholders: Waterland (50%), Dumoulin family (50%).