In April 2005, the fund Accent Equity 2003 acquired Nordic Bake Off (“NBO”), at that time “Bakemark Sweden”, from the UK-based bakery group CSM. The transaction was executed as an asset deal, in which the Accent fund, together with management, acquired the entire business and operations of the company.
NBO is a leading supplier of frozen bake-off products, with a focus on bread and pastries. Products are partly sourced from NBO’s own factory in Fagersta in Sweden and distributed frozen, in convenience levels ranging from dough, pre-proven, par-baked to thaw and serve. NBO operates in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
At the time of the Accent fund’s investment, NBO had a turnover of SEK 253 million.
As the new majority owner, the Accent fund implemented a number of key initiatives to enhance NBO’s strategic position:
- Structured the new company
- Divested the ingredients business
- Created and strengthened strategic partnerships in Nordic markets
- Reorganised the sales organisation
- Acquired Gotlandsbrödet, a specialized thaw and serve manufacturer
Through these activities, NBO strengthened its bake-off focus and became the Swedish market leader. The company also achieved a good position in Norway as well as interesting opportunities to improve and grow its Finnish business. During the Accent fund’s ownership period, NBO increased its turnover to SEK 324 million as well as doubled its EBITDA.
Already when the Accent fund acquired NBO, there was a substantial interest from industrial players but the Accent fund managed to retain exclusivity, mainly through delivering a quick process and building a good relationship with NBO’s management.
One of the industrial players who missed out on the initial opportunity to acquire NBO, the Finnish bakery group Vaasan & Vaasan, owned by CapVest, approached the Accent fund in early autumn 2005. For Vaasan & Vaasan, NBO was a perfect strategic fit in order to improve their position on the Nordic bake-off market. The Accent fund divested NBO to Vaasan & Vaasan in February 2006.