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Lily O’Brien’s Sold to Colian Holdings For €40 Million

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Lily O’Brien’s Sold to Colian Holdings For €40 Million

Lily O’Brien’s Sold to Colian Holdings For €40 Million
January 04
09:34 2018

Lily O’Brien’s, the Irish manufacturer of premium chocolate and desserts, is being acquired by Colian Holding of Poland for €40 million on a debt-free, cash free basis from its existing shareholders, the Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund (CCI) and members of the Lily O’Brien’s management team. The acquisition is expected to complete in January 2018.

Based in Kildare and founded in 1992 by Mary Ann O’Brien in the kitchen of her home, Lily O’Brien’s today employs 120 people at its Newbridge plant and generated revenues in excess of €30 million during 2016.

Employing approx. 2,000 people, Colian Holdings is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and is a Polish producer and distributor of food products in the confectionery, culinary products and beverage sectors. Colian has a number of leading and trusted brands in the Polish market, and exports to over 60 countries around the world. The acquisition of Elizabeth Shaw, a UK chocolate business, in 2016 represented Colian’s first international acquisition and the start of its strategy of continued expansion into international markets through the purchase of high quality and well-loved brands.

Eoin Donnelly, CEO of Lily O’Briens; John Dolan, Managing Director of Private Equity at Cardinal Capital; and Jonathan Cosgrave, Managing Director of The Carlisle Group.

CCI, the private equity fund focusing on investments across the island of Ireland founded by The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group, acquired a majority shareholding in Lily O’Brien’s in January 2014, investing alongside Eoin Donnelly (CEO), Mary Ann O’Brien (founder) and other members of the management team. Lily O’Brien’s has undergone significant growth during the four years of CCI ownership. Since 2013, total revenues and global export revenues have increased by almost 50%, underpinned by increased investment in production facilities and new product development.

Lily O’Brien’s represents a compelling strategic fit for Colian with its high level of brand recognition and market position, complementing Colian’s existing products. Lily O’Brien’s currently exports more than 80% of its products and the brand is sold in more than 15 countries. In addition to its international retail presence, the company also supplies airlines and food services companies, with the brand available on 20 airlines around the world. Lily O’Brien’s has a successful innovation track record that can be applied across the enlarged group, as well as an accomplished international management team.

Lily O’Brien’s will continue to be run by its existing Irish management team led by CEO, Eoin Donnelly, with Mary Ann O’Brien remaining as a director and consultant to the company. Colian’s vision is to continue the growth trajectory of Lily O’Brien’s as a premium global chocolate and dessert brand through further investment in production, sales and marketing, and innovation. Lily O’Brien’s will continue to develop its Newbridge operations to support this growth.


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