Kartesia’s flexible financing and cross-border expertise crucial to Okechamp’s push into vegan meat market
In August this year, Kartesia announced their investment in “Project Morel”, the acquisition and merger of Okechamp S.A. in Poland and Greenyard Prepared Foods in the Netherlands to form Okechamp Group. Kartesia committed a total of €78m debt and equity from its Kartesia Credit Opportunities Funds (KCO) IV & V. The capital injection was made with the aim of strengthening the group’s balance sheet, allowing it to pursue further organic and external growth and accelerate its international development.
Headquartered in the Netherlands and Poland, Okechamp Group is Europe’s leading producer of highest quality preserved mushrooms with an annual production volume of over 115kt. The company operates a large mushroom farming unit in Poland and two mushroom processing units in Poland and the Netherlands, as well as distribution capabilities across more than 40 countries on six continents.
The flexibility of Kartesia’s KCO funds was essential to the completion of this deal, as a mix of debt and equity was necessary to provide the right level of support and financial firepower to better position the business for international growth. Many peers in the sector were looking at the transaction from either a debt or equity perspective but could not commit to the blended ticket size given the size of their funds or typical investments. The fact that the financing was in support of a fundless sponsor like Cornerstone also played into Kartesia’s hands, given the deal team’s experience at working on a broad range of sponsored and sponsorless transactions from its KCO and KSO funds.
The merger of these two businesses, in two very different operating environments in Poland and the Netherlands, was also a work intensive process which relied upon the cross-jurisdictional expertise of Kartesia’s international team in order to appease the demands of the seller. The deal team for this investment comprised Giuseppe Mirante, Sebastian Afflerbach and Jorge Gimenez-Arribas, based in Kartesia’s Munich, London and Madrid offices respectively, but they were also supported and advised by the Benelux team in Brussels, given their experience working with companies in the region.
Since the investment earlier this year, Kartesia has worked closely with Cornerstone and the management team to quickly integrate the new production sites in the Netherlands and to expand capacity through capex investment. Alongside this integration, the management team has also been focusing on the increased professionalisation of the overall set up to support its ambitions to continue international growth and maintain its position as the market leader.
This is a very exciting time to be involved in the mushroom production market, one of the reasons Kartesia was comfortable with the intense workload and due diligence process involved with this investment. Consumers are demanding an increasing number of meat-free options wherever they go and Okechamp is well-placed to take advantage of this trend and ensure that mushrooms are the go-to alternative for meat in these products.
Okechamp Group is now the leading player in the European mushroom production market and, given the proven track record of the management team and the opportunities provided by a shift in consumer demand towards meat-free products, the business is well-positioned to continue its path of sustainable and steady growth. We look forward to seeing the continued positive results!