Nestlé and private equity firm PAI Partners have announced a joint venture for Nestlé’s frozen pizza business in Europe.
Nestlé will retain a non-controlling stake with equal voting rights alongside PAI Partners.
Nestlé’s pizza business spans several countries across Europe, with an annual turnover of around CHF 400 million (£361m). Pizzas are currently distributed under the Wagner, Buitoni and Garden Gourmet brands, including in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The business will be headquartered in Germany and led by a strong and experienced management team. It will operate two manufacturing facilities, in Nonnweiler, Germany, and Benevento, Italy.
“We took a thorough look at our European pizza business and concluded that partnering with PAI provides the best platform to develop its full potential,” Marco Settembri, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer Zone Europe at Nestlé, said.
“Nestlé will remain invested in this business and participate in future growth and value creation as the joint venture continues to provide the very best pizza for consumers and retail partners.”
Frédéric Stévenin, a managing partner at PAI Partners, said: “This transaction is testimony to our relationship with Nestlé and brings together Nestlé’s iconic brands with PAI’s depth of expertise in creating leaders in Food & Consumer. We are delighted to once again partner with Nestlé to replicate our previous success.”
This partnership follows the creation of ice cream business Froneri in 2016, a highly successful joint venture with PAI Partners.
The proposed partnership will only cover Nestlé’s frozen pizza business in Europe. Nestlé’s pizza business in the US is not part of the scope and remains integral to Nestlé’s frozen food operations there.
The transaction is subject to employee consultations and the approval of regulatory authorities and is expected to close in the second half of 2023.