Tuesday 22nd Aug 2017 - Logistics & Supply Chain

American distributor buys Brakes

European foodservice distributor Brakes Group has been acquired by American company Sysco for £2.2 billion.

Brakes, which has been owned by Bain Capital Private Equity since 2007, currently has operations across Europe, including the UK, Ireland, France, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg. It has a fleet of over 2,000 vehicles, and an extensive network of distribution hubs and satellite depots – the company has recently invested over £125 million in its UK distribution network and technology.

Sysco, which is also a foodservice distributor, aims to expand its footprint in the UK, Ireland and further into Europe with this transaction.

The transaction is expected to be complete before July 2016, and is subject to regulatory review by the European Union competition authorities. Brakes will continue to operate as a standalone company within Sysco and its existing CEO Ken McMeikan will remain head of the company.

Brakes delivers upwards of 1.5 million boxes of food to over 200,000 customers on a daily basis. It has a UK market share of 21 per cent, and is the second largest foodservice distributor in both France and Sweden.

Its companies include: Brakes, Brakes Catering Equipment, Brake France, Country Choice, Davigel, Freshfayre, Fresh Direct, M&J Seafood, Menigo Foodservice, Pauley’s, Wild Harvest and Woodward Foodservice.

It has expanded its procurement scale via the establishment of ‘Constellation’ – a European buying group shared with other European foodservice providers.

The transaction includes the repayment of approximately £1.6 billion of Brakes’ financial debt.

Dwight Poler, managing director of Bain Capital Private Equity, said: “Since we bought Brakes Group in 2007, the business has been transformed with capital investment of more than 100 million British pounds in an e-commerce platform, multi-temperature distribution infrastructure, and customer service enhancements. There is still a huge market opportunity ahead that I am confident Brakes Group is very well placed to deliver with Sysco.”

“We look forward to welcoming Brakes Group, its 15,000 employees, and Ken McMeikan and his highly respected leadership team to the Sysco family of companies,” said Bill DeLaney, Sysco CEO. “This transaction will unite Sysco with a leading foodservice distributor in Europe with demonstrated capability to sustainably grow its business over time. Beginning with a common customer-centric mind-set, our companies are strategically aligned with compatible cultures and similar business models.”

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