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PEP’s Patties Foods to scale business with Leader acquisition

Private equity fund manager Pacific Equity Partners' (PEP) Patties Foods has purchased New Zealand’s Leader Products, a manufacturer of frozen convenience food products.

Private equity fund manager Pacific Equity Partners’ (PEP) Patties Foods has purchased New Zealand’s Leader Products, a manufacturer of frozen convenience food products.

The deal follows PEP’s $232 million acquisition of Patties in September, aligning the two manufacturers of frozen foods to provide “significant growth opportunities for both companies”, according to a statement from Patties.

“Leader is a great New Zealand success story and we are very keen to support the team in their continued growth,” said Patties chief executive Paul Hitchcock. “We see immediate opportunities to leverage the Patties sales force in Australia to bring more of Leader’s great product range to Australian customers.”

Leader exports to Australia and Asia and has doubled revenue in the past five years, according to the statement. Its products include meatballs, burger patties, finger foods and meals under the brands Leader, Tony’s Tucka and Kauri Coast; while Patties is a leading provider of frozen savoury and dessert pies with key products including meat pies, sausage rolls and fruit pies, sold under brands such as Nanna’s, Herbert Adams and Four’N Twenty.

Tony Peterson, who founded Leader with Richard Crabb in 1998, will continue as managing director and will maintain a stake in the combined business.

PEP, the largest private equity fund manager in Australasia as measured by FUA according to its website, has approximately A$3.5 billion ($2.59 billion; €2.44 billion) in equity funds under advisement, and has made more than 26 operating company investments and more than 90 bolt-on acquisitions through its funds. PEP V closed in September 2015 at the hard-cap of A$2.1 billion.

The firm did not disclose the acquisition price and was not available to comment by press time. The transaction is expected to be completed in early 2017 following regulatory approval.