German investment group E3 Holding has snapped up a majority stake in local rye bread producer Pema.

The investor has acquired 74% of the company for an undisclosed sum.

Formerly owned by the Leupoldt family, Pema started searching for a buyer after being unable to find a successor to take over the group. The family holds the remaining 26% share in the company.

Pema’s rye breads portfolio includes high protein, multi-grain, sunflower and chia-infused varieties, as well as a gluten-free rice-based bread. Its products are supplied to retailers throughout Germany.

Around 160 employees work for Pema at its headquarters in Weißenstadt, in upper Franconia, Bavaria. Its annual sales currently stand in the “double-digit million euro range”, according to a statement from E3.

Former shareholder Dr Laura Krainz-Leupoldt is expected remain involved in the company in an “advisory capacity”.

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Speaking on the news in a statement, Krainz-Leupoldt said: “As a family that feels a strong connection to the employees, the suppliers and the entire region, we have now found a new main owner who shares our values ​​and will develop the company in our spirit.”

Olivier Weddrien, founder and CEO of E3 Holding, added: “Pema is a solidly managed, traditional company with a first-class product range.

“But there is more to the company than that. As a long-term owner, we want to support Pema in exploiting its full growth potential and will implement the growth plans with the necessary care.”

The purchase marks E3’s second investment in the food industry. In March 2023, the group acquired local salami, bratwurst and sliced ham processor Konrad Böhnlein, for an unknown figure.

Konrad Böhnlein generated total sales of €45m ($48.8m) in 2022. It employs 160 people.

Similar to Pema, the German meats manufacturer was formerly family-owned.

Commenting on the group’s investment strategy, Weddrien said: “We are building up our portfolio slowly but steadily. The deal pipeline would enable us to [do] significantly more of the proprietary transactions that we are aiming for.

“But we want to make sure in each individual case that we are a good fit for the company and the current owner.

“The trust that is shown in us in discussions and negotiations encourages us to continue to act calmly and prudently.”

In addition to Pema and Konrad Böhnlein, E3 also holds investments in cyber- security consultancy Coligo and cleanroom solutions provider Clean-tek.