In March 2005, CVC funds led the acquisition of Leaf, the sugar confectionery division of the international food ingredients and confectionery company, CSM NV. The company operated as a pan-European manufacturer, marketer and distributor of sugar confectionery products such as basic candy, pastilles, chocolate and chewing gum.
As part of the exit strategy, Leaf merged with the listed company Cloetta in March 2012, which created a partial exit for CVC and a highly synergistic combination of the two businesses. The combination of the two businesses created a clear leader in the Nordic confectionary market particularly in Sweden as the product portfolios are largely complementary. Cloetta is the oldest confectionery producer in the Nordics, supplying chocolate and sugar confectionary products to Sweden (main market), Norway, Denmark and Finland.
Combined, the group had 2011 sales of €630 million and 12 production units in six countries. The group holds a range of locally well-known premium brand names such as Läkerol, Dietorelle, Sportlife, Redband, Lamy Lutti, Cloetta, Jenkki, Kexchoklad, Malaco and Sperlari. The combined company has been renamed to Cloetta, which is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, with CVC still remaining as the largest shareholder.
After almost one year as CEO, I believe that Leaf is poised to accelerate profitable growth in the coming years. Going forward, focus will be on fewer but bigger initiatives on our heritage brands, striking a balance between local execution and continuing to realise synergies.