First established in 1933 as a division of the iconic Campbell Soup Company, Continental Foods owns a portfolio of much-loved heritage brands primarily in soups, sauces and bouillons. It operates in five key European markets: Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden and Finland.
Re-energising brands, optimising cost structures
CVC recognised Continental Foods as a well-established and resilient business with leading market positions in both its geographies and major brands. The brands, which include Liebig, Royco, D&L, Erasco and Blå Band, have loyal customer bases and high consumer awareness.
The company was acquired from the Campbell Soup Company by CVC in 2013 and the new partnership set about implementing a strategy to rejuvenate and grow the brands through better market activation, as well as realising identified cost savings. This included:
- Forming a senior management team with strong FMCG experience
- Introducing innovative new product offerings and acquiring three businesses in fast-growing segments such as chilled soups and ethnic sauces
- Increasing consumer advertising around the ‘hero’ brands
- Realising plant efficiencies and optimising cost structures
- Robust working capital management to release cash
Continental Foods is a great group of very similar culture to GBfoods, complementary markets, local culinary brands, a long heritage and a great teamIgnasi Ricou
Sourcing a complementary business partnership
Over the following five years, Continental Foods experienced a strong rise in EBITDA and was generating a high operating cash flow conversion. It was an attractive partner for the Spanish-based food manufacturer GBfoods, who shared the same passion for local brands.
CVC finalised the sale of Continental Foods to GBfoods in 2019, enabling GBfoods to enter new European markets with local leader brands.