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July 14, 2022

Ice-cream maker Gelato d’Italia set to change investor ownership

Davidson Kempner Capital Management and Afendis join hands in deal.

By Simon Harvey

Gelato d’Italia, a branded and private-label ice-cream maker in Italy, is destined for new investment owners.

Davidson Kempner Capital Management, headquartered in New York, and Turkey-based Afendis Capital Management, have signed a “definitive agreement” to acquire Gelato d’Italia for an undisclosed sum. The deal, announced today (14 July), is expected to close “as soon as practicable”.

The sellers are Milan-based private-equity firm DEA Capital, the Olivi family group founders of Gelato d’Italia, and the ice-cream maker’s CEO Marco Pellegrino.

Pellegrino said: “This is an important next step for Gelato d’Italia as our teams work towards our vision of becoming a world-class ice-cream producer driven by innovation. We are deeply grateful to the current shareholders for their steadfast support, leadership and guidance over the past many years.”

Located in the Reggio Emilia province commune of Cavriago, a region of Emilia Romagna, Gelato d’Italia manufactures sorbets, ice-cream tubs and sandwiches, cones, popsicles and ice-cream sticks. The company’s four brands include its namesake line, along with Indianino, Gelato da Sogno and the vegan brand JoyVeg.

A statement from Davidson Kempner Capital Management noted Gelato d’Italia, founded in the 1930s, has almost “tripled” revenues in the past five years.

Just Food understands DEA Capital acquired an interest in the ice-cream business in 2016, when Gelato d’Italia’s private-label revenues accounted for 75% of its total turnover. This publication has approached the asset manager for clarification on revenues and the company’s geographical market presence.

Yeşim Kanburoglu Ilbak, a partner at Afendis, said: “Ice-cream consumption is experiencing robust growth, particularly during the pandemic, and Gelato d’Italia is well-positioned to capitalise on these growth trends. The company has a strong management team, an established presence in major markets, and an expanding selection of products.”

Davidson Kempner Capital Management, which has more than US$38bn of assets under management, recently teamed up with Afendis to acquire a majority interest in Cerealto Siro Foods. That business is a co-manufacturer of private-label biscuits, cereals and pasta in Spain.

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