Vivera on market with Houlihan Lokey, Rabobank advising – sources

12 January 2021

Gilde Buy Out Partners is shopping Dutch meat-replacement products developer Vivera, two sources close to and three sources familiar with the situation said. 


Houlihan Lokey is advising, all five sources said, and Rabobank is co-advisor, four of them added.  


First-round bids are due next week, all three sources familiar said.   


Gilde Buy Out is working off EUR 8m-plus in EBITDA for Vivera and expects to realise a double-digit EV/EBITDA multiple, a fourth source familiar said. Last March, Vivera said in a press release it expected to generate EUR 80m in sales in 2020. In 2019, Vivera’s sales totalled some EUR 70m, the fourth source familiar said. 


Vivera’s portfolio of plant-derived meat alternatives includes soy-based burgers, shawarma and garlic kiev.  


Gilde Buy Out has owned Vivera, formerly Enkco FoodGroup, since a 2015 buyout for an undisclosed sum from Molenbeek Invest and Rabo Participaties. Last year, the company divested its meat-processing arm Enkco to local industry player Van Loon Group for an undisclosed sum. Subsequent news reports have said Vivera aims to boost production capacity and recruitment to meet surging demand.  


Houlihan Lokey and Rabobank declined to comment. Gilde Buy Out and Vivera did not respond to requests for comment.  


Vivera’s selling points include its coronavirus-resilient status, the first source close said. Vivera supplies mainly supermarkets, which “continue operating at a steady clip,” the first source close said. Vivera names Royal Ahold Delhaize and Detailresult Groep among its Dutch clients. Foreign customers include Tesco  and Germany-based Globus Hypermarket Holding.  


Vivera’s other strengths include its established brand and hefty size in a segment dominated by smaller, low-profile players, the fourth source familiar said.   


These features have whetted sponsor appetite, the fourth source familiar said. Parcom Capital ManagementSilverfleet Capital Partners and Emeram Capital Partners have explored bids, he said. A spokesperson for Emeram, however, denied interest in Vivera. Parcom and Silverfleet were unavailable for immediate comment.


Vivera also makes a natural trade-sale candidate, the first source close and the first source familiar said. Snapping up Vivera could help a meat processor enter the vegetarian market, a sector banker said.  


Last October, this news service reported potential local trade buyers include Van Loon, meat processor Compaxo Fijne Vleeswaren and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts-backed spreads producer Upfield Holdings. As reported, conglomerates Nestle and Unilever have also been tipped as suitors. Vivera could also make a transatlantic expansion play for Redwood City, California-based, Delaware-incorporated meat alternative maker Impossible Foods, backed by Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings; and for El Segundo, California-headquartered veggie-burger developer Beyond Meat .   


Potential sticking points include Gilde Buy Out’s steep price expectations, the fourth source familiar said. In addition, Vivera faces stiff competition in an increasingly crowded market for meat alternatives, the banker and a second sector banker said. Its limited international reach could also dampen buyside enthusiasm, the second banker said.   


Vivera is headquartered in Rijssen-Holten in the province of Overijssel.