Portobello spices it up

Spanish private equity firm Portobello Capital has bought spice company Ramón Sabater, amid a rise in mid-market dealmaking in the country.

Spanish private equity firm Portobello Capital has bought spice company Ramón Sabater

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Spanish private equity firm Portobello Capital has bought spice company Ramón Sabater

Portobello Capital said it had bought the company from its third fund, which closed at €375 million in 2014, for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement on March 17.

Murcia-based Ramón Sabater manufactures and distributes spices including paprika, cayenne and chilli powder to the food industry. The company has offices in the US and China and its products are sold in more than 70 countries.

The deal comes amid a buoyant period for Spanish mid-market dealmaking after years of lacklustre performance as the result of an ailing economy. The number of mid-market Spanish deals rose in 2015. Mid-market private equity dealmaking in Spain hit a seven-year high in 2015, according to a report by the Spanish Venture Capital and Private Equity Association in January.

There were 57 deals with equity investments of between €10 million and €100 million completed in 2015, a significant rise on the 33 deals completed in 2014. Last year’s total was the highest since the financial crisis, when a record 70 deals were completed in 2007.

Portobello Capital also completed an unusual deal in 2015, restructuring its second fund alongside HarbourVest Partners. Under the deal, investors were given the option of selling their stakes in the fund or rolling them into a new vehicle, and the firm got five more years to sell assets from the fund. It was unusual because most fund restructurings happen when a private equity firm is struggling to raise new cash and Portobello had raised money for its latest fund before the deal hit the market.

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