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Investment to grow critical infrastructure of leading global beverage solutions provider

Refresco Group B.V., one of the largest independent beverage contract manufacturers in the world, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, announced that KKR has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Refresco, with Refresco’s existing investors, PAI Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (“BCI”), maintaining a significant minority position. Terms of the transaction, which is subject to closing conditions, were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, Refresco is a global independent beverage solutions provider for retailers and branded beverage companies with pan-regional coverage in Europe and North America through its network of bottling, warehousing, logistics and other operational assets. The Company’s production platform includes over 70 majority-owned manufacturing sites in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Mexico, providing customers with close proximity and a reliable service across geographies. Refresco has built long-standing relationships with its customers by partnering to support material planning, procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, fulfillment, and distribution.

KKR will support Refresco as it expands its global and strategically located footprint to better serve existing and new customers through a range of formats and channels. The Company will build on its ability to manufacture high quality products that meet the growing demand for sustainable beverage solutions, with a focus on sustainable sourcing, responsible production and environmentally friendly operations.

“We are very pleased to welcome KKR, one of the world’s most prominent investment firms, as our new majority owner. We are proud that PAI and BCI will continue as shareholders, which is a testament to our successful value creation,” said Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco. “To support further growth, we have explored the various alternatives available to us and believe that the investment by KKR is an incredibly positive development for the Company. Like our existing shareholders, KKR is supportive of our strategy and will bring operational expertise, access to capital and a well-established network to support us in our growth, innovation and M&A strategy. Our focus of growing alongside our customers, combined with expanding into new categories and geographies, remains unchanged. I look forward to this new chapter, and for all our employees and customers to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us.”

“Refresco has established itself as an industry leader supporting the global beverage industry with a blue-chip global customer base, an experienced and highly regarded management team, and an impressive network of assets that provides compelling value to customers. The Company also has a strong commitment to sustainability, which is an important differentiator for its customers,” said James Cunningham, Partner at KKR. “We look forward to leveraging our operational expertise from across the KKR platform to support the Company’s continued growth and further advance the sustainability of its value chain.”

“We are proud to have been instrumental in Refresco’s growth since we initiated our investment with BCI in 2018,” said Frédéric Stévenin, Managing Partner of PAI Partners. “We are even more excited about the prospect of continuing to stay a part of Refresco’s strong growth trajectory alongside KKR. We are convinced of Refresco’s unique value-add capabilities, its growth initiatives and a proven M&A track record, and we look forward to the next phase of this journey.”

“As an institutional investor with a long-term perspective, supporting strong management teams and market leading companies is core to our private equity program. We are in full agreement with Frédéric’s comments and are very happy to continue this partnership with management, PAI and KKR,” said Julian Remedios, Senior Managing Director, Private Equity, BCI.

KKR is making this investment primarily through its Global Infrastructure strategy, which was established in 2008. Since that time, KKR has been one of the most active infrastructure investors around the world with a team of more than 70 dedicated investment professionals. The firm currently oversees approximately $ 40 billion in infrastructure assets and has made over 60 infrastructure investments across a range of sub-sectors and geographies.

About KKR
KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life and reinsurance products under the management of Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries.

At its meeting yesterday, the Supervisory Board of GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft extended the contract of CEO Stefan Klebert (55) by five years until December 31, 2026.

“Over the last two years, Stefan Klebert has led GEA back to a more successful path through targeted measures, highlighting the Group’s great potential for sustainable and profitable growth,” said Dr. Helmut Perlet, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GEA Group AG. “The Supervisory Board therefore expresses its fullest confidence in him and is pleased to be able to continue our extremely successful cooperation.”

“I would like to thank the Supervisory Board for the trust they have placed in me,” commented Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA Group AG. “GEA is a fantastic company with a compelling outlook for the future. I look forward to continuing to shape the company’s successful transformation.”

Shortly after Stefan Klebert took over as CEO in 2019, GEA initiated and consistently implemented several projects to improve efficiency. These initiatives, along with the short-term measures to manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have played a decisive role in ensuring that for the fiscal year 2020, GEA will again achieve significant gains in EBITDA before restructuring measures and the corresponding margin. In particular, the new organizational structure introduced in January 2020 has proven its worth by placing more revenue responsibility and decision-making power in the hands of local management.

Stefan Klebert became CEO in February 2019 and has been a member of the Executive Board since November 2018. On the Executive Board, he is responsible for all five divisions as well as the regions & country organizations. In this role, he also performs the function of Labor Director.

CARBIOS, an innovative green chemistry company specializing in enzymatic bioprocesses applied to plastic and textile polymers, and TechnipFMC announced the launch of a project for the industrial development of CARBIOS PET enzymatic recycling process. This innovation will allow to produce virgin PET from plastic waste. This contract covers assistance to CARBIOS for the scale up of its process to ensure industrial competitiveness.

CARBIOS’ proprietary innovation provides an industrial solution to fulfill sustainable development requirements of PET production processes. The global market of PET records a 4 % to 5 %[1] annual growth and represents a world production of 64 million tons each year[2] (eq. $70 billion), split between one third of plastics and two thirds of fibers. In 10 years’ time, the annual production of this market is expected to reach 100 million tons (eq. $110 billion).

This process has been developed for the recycling of PET plastics, namely bottles, films and packaging. It enables to overcome constraints and limits of current recycling processes by the treatment of all kind of plastics containing PET (transparent, coloured, opaque and complex), and by the recovery of high-performance virgin PET directly from plastic waste. For the first time, a biological process paves the way to infinite recycling of PET following circular economy principles.

CARBIOS and TechnipFMC, world-leading Company in the fields of energy, chemistry and bio-sourced industries, signed this contract to transpose CARBIOS’ process from the laboratory to the pilot scale. This assistance will further aim at supporting the development of the project and define the bases of the industrial process. Through this contract, CARBIOS will benefit from TechnipFMC industrial know-how in bioprocess engineering and from the expertise of its German affiliate Technip Zimmer, in PET polymerization technologies.

Alain François, General Manager of TechnipFMC Operating Center in Lyon, notably in charge of the projects for chemical and bio-sourced industries, commented: “We are delighted to work with CARBIOS on this enzymatic recycling process that represents a true revolution in the world of PET. We have gained a solid experience in process engineering and we are very enthusiastic at the idea to assist CARBIOS in shaping the industrialization of this innovation. It’s a premiere in the world of green chemistry to which we can bring our expertise and know-how in the fields of process industrialization, engineering and project management.”

[1] Source: Smithers Pira in 2014, Icis in 2009 and Pira International in 2012

[2] Source: SRI Consulting in 2010, ICIS in 2009, Samsung in 2010, Tecnon in 2013 and IHS in 2014