Swander Pace backs Asian cuisine distributor Passport, as ethnic foods attract interest

Register now

Private equity firm Swander Pace Capital has acquired Passport Food Group, a manufacturer of internationally-flavored foods for the foodservice and retail channels in North America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Passport offers more than 125 flavored products to restaurants and retailer chains across the U.S. Passport’s foodservices products such as Southeast Asian noodles, wraps, and fortune cookies that are sold under the company’s Wing Hing and House of Bee brands. The target’s customers include: Applebee’s, P.F. Chang’s (Nasdaq: PFCB), Panda Express, Cheesecake Factory (Nasdaq: CAKE), and Houlihan’s. Passport was previously owned by private equity firm Wedbush Capital Partners.

Swander Pace is a private equity firm that has invested in more than 45 companies since its inception in 1996 and targets companies with up to $500 million in revenue. The PE firm has offices in San Francisco, New Jersey and Ontario. Swander Pace, led by managing directors Andrew Richards, Mark Poff, Mo Stout, Corby Reese, Rob DesMarais and Heather Smith Thorne, closed its sixth fund in Sept. 2016 to focus on the middle-market consumer sector. The PE firm acquired baby product manufacturer Halo Innovations Inc. and vitamin retailer Swanson Health Products in 2016.

Globalization has made international cuisine more popular. Food deals leveraging the trends include: Palladium Equity Partners’ investment in Hispanic food producer Del Real Foods; Findus Spain’s purchase of La Cocinera, a Barcelona, Spain-based maker of chilled-dough products, from Nestle; Diaz Foods’ acquiring La Cena Fine Foods Ltd., a manufacturer of Caribbean food brands pasta, drinks and condiments; Grey Mountain Partners’ purchase of Mediterranean food maker Kronos Foods Inc.; and Ajinomoto’s $800 million purchase of Windsor Quality Holdings LP, a maker of nacho bites and other appetizer frozen foods.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.