Expobar is one of the three Crem brands Welbilt now owns.

US headquartered catering equipment manufacturer Welbilt has acquired Swedish coffee machine firm Avaj International Holding, which trades as Crem International.

Crem was majority owned by private equity firms Priveq Investment Fund and SEB Venture Capital, but Welbilt has now purchased 100% of the shares for around $224m/£162m. The acquisition will be funded through cash on hand and existing credit lines and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to certain closing conditions.

The Swedish company has traded for more than 50 years, with sales in over 80 countries. Headquartered in Solna, it also has manufacturing sites in Åmotfors, Sweden, Gandia, Spain, and Shanghai, China. These plants are supported by three R&D centres and six sales offices.

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Crem develops, manufactures and markets coffee machines under three brands: Coffee Queen, Expobar and Spengler for use in offices, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, catering and convenience stores. Products include manual and automatic espresso and filter coffee machines as well as instant, liquid, freestanding and other machines.

In 2017, Crem International generated sales of approximately $90m/£65. The acquisition is expected gradually grow Welbilt’s revenue from later in 2018, with run-rate synergies expected to grow to approximately $10m/£7m by 2020.

Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, Welbilt’s president and CEO commented: “The acquisition of Crem International is the first step in realising our ambition to complement our organic growth strategy with select bolt-on acquisitions.

“Crem expands our full-line of commercial foodservice equipment coverage by adding the fast-growing hot coffee category to our portfolio, which gives us the broadest portfolio of hot and cold beverage equipment of any company in the market.

“Crem is very strong in Europe and Asia, supporting our strategic objective of expanding our presence in these two important regions. We foresee significant cross-selling opportunities between Crem’s and Welbilt’s respective customer bases in those regions, and see further opportunity to bring Crem to Welbilt’s customer base in the US and include it as a core offering in our fitkitchen system solutions.”

He concluded: “We welcome Crem International’s employees into the Welbilt family. We see substantial opportunities going forward in creating a joint team supported by shared company values and a spirit of innovation.”

While Sebastian Lindstroem, CEO of Crem International noted: “We at Crem International are delighted to join forces with Welbilt. Jointly with our shareholders we have built Crem into one of the global leaders in professional coffee machines with a unique breadth of technology and solutions with a highly innovative and competitive product portfolio.

“Within Welbilt’s strong family of brands and products, we will be able to further expand the reach of our product portfolio through improved market access and our current customers will benefit from Welbilt’s expertise in new product development and manufacturing process improvement.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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