Source: GettyImages

Nestlé and private equity firm PAI Partners have agreed to set up a joint venture for Nestlé’s frozen pizza business in Europe.

The agreement will see Nestlé will retain a non-controlling stake with equal voting rights alongside PAI Partners.

The JV mirrors the creation of Froneri in 2016, with Nestlé and PAI Partners creating a global leader in ice cream.

Nestlé’s pizza business spans several countries across Europe, with an annual turnover of around CHF400m.

Nestlé’s Pizzas in Europe are currently distributed under the Wagner, Buitoni and Garden Gourmet brands, including in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands.

The business will be headquartered in Germany and led by a strong and experienced management team. It will operate two manufacturing facilities, in Nonnweiler, Germany, and Benevento, Italy.

The deal only affects Nestlé’s European bands, with its North American brands – such as the region’s leading frozen pizza brands DiGiorno – unaffected.

The transaction is subject to employee consultations and the approval of regulatory authorities and is expected to close in the second half of 2023.

Financial details are not being disclosed.

Marco Settembri, CEO zone Europe at Nestlé, said: “We took a thorough look at our European pizza business and concluded that partnering with PAI provides the best platform to develop its full potential. Nestlé will remain invested in this business and participate in future growth and value creation as the joint venture continues to provide the very best pizza for consumers and retail partners.”

Frédéric Stévenin, managing partner at PAI Partners, added: “This transaction is testimony to our relationship with Nestlé and brings together Nestlé’s iconic brands with PAI’s depth of expertise in creating leaders in Food & Consumer. We are delighted to once again partner with Nestlé to replicate our previous success.”