Italian ice-cream sandwich and biscuit maker Salpa & Cherubini has seen its majority ownership change hands.

Equinox, a Luxemburg-based private-equity fund, has sold its 63% stake in the Perugia-based business to pan-European investment firm Apheon for an undisclosed fee.

Founded in 1934 by the Cherubini family, Salpa & Cherubini owns Break & Go, an ice-cream sandwich brand, and gluten-free biscuit operation Kèlinea. The group also supplies its products to big food companies including Nestlé and Unilever.

The Cherubini family will continue to own the remaining 37% stake.

A company statement said that “Apheon’s entry into the capital will allow Salpa to further accelerate growth in the US, a market of strategic importance for the company”.

Maria Rita Cherubini and Abramo Cherubini said: “We thank the Equinox team for the successful collaboration over the last few years and recognise in Apheon a partner capable of offering strategic guidance and capital for a new phase of growth.

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“We appreciate Apheon for its local, yet global approach and for its knowledge of the food industry and food ingredients. Thanks to this partnership, we will be able to continue to grow and enter new markets, innovate and reach new goals. This is the beginning of a new chapter for set sail and we are excited to embark on it with Apheon.”

Salpa & Cherubini owns three production sites in Italy – comprising an area of around 90,000 square-metres – and employs around 250 people.

Massimiliano Monti, a partner at Equinox, said: “It has been a privilege to have contributed to the development of the company over the last three years and to have supported the Salpa management team in achieving the great organic growth which has laid the foundations for the next phase of expansion of the business.

“We have identified Apheon as the ideal partner to accompany the family and the company in this exciting journey which aims to extend Salpa’s leadership position on a global scale.”

Apheon’s other food companies in its portfolio include Italian business-to-business frozen bakery firm Dolciaria Acquaviva and Vanreusel, a frozen meat-based snacks company.