New York private equity firm SK Capital Partners is buying a majority stake in AEB Group for an undisclosed amount.
The Brescia, Italy-based company provides biotechnology services, processing aids and specialized equipment for winemakers, beer brewers and other food and beverage companies, that aim to keep consistency in the products despite harvest and other conditions. AEB's customers are mostly in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Argentina and South Africa, but the company has also been trying to grow across the U.S., Germany, Chile and Australia.
The company's ingredient products include yeasts, clarifiers, wine stabilizers, tannins, alkaline, acids, foam detergents and sanitizers.
Mergers & Acquisitions predicted in January that wine and beer-related acquisitions would pick up in 2015.
SK Capital plans to make add-on acquisitions to increase distribution. "AEB Group has consistently grown its share of the wine ingredients niche, which is characterized by long-term relationships with a fragmented customer base and products which are critical to winemaking yet represent a small portion of the cost and value of wine," says Philip Marxen, SK Capital principal.
The sellers include investment firm Investindustrial, which will maintain a minority stake. AEB management will also hold a minority stake.
SK has about $1.5 billion in third-party capital under management, and closed a $1 billion fund in December.