The Collective, a manufacturer of high-protein yogurts and Kefir cultured milk drinks located in New Zealand, has sold a 39% stake to an Auckland-based private-equity fund. 

Pencarrow Private Equity’s purchase will enable The Collective to launch its products into Europe and ”massively” expand its existing presence through its joint-venture arm in the UK, which is set to become one global business with its New Zealand counterpart.

At the same time, The Collective will use the funds to inject ”substantial” investment into its plant at Avondale, New Zealand, and for new products, according to the private-equity firm’s website, citing comments from the yogurt maker’s co-founder Angus Allan. 

The Collective was founded almost nine years ago by Allan and fellow chef Ofer Shenhav. The company has recorded annual average growth rates of 35% over the past four years and generated revenue of NZD100m (US$69.4m) in 2017. It produces more than 90 products for the New Zealand and UK markets. 

Collective UK was formed in 2011 by Amelia Harvey and the late Mike Hodgson. The venture posted sales of GBP32m (US$43.4m) last year with sales of 25,000 pots a month, according to a statement from the JV unit.

Allan said the launch into Europe is planned for next year, although he declined to say where, apparently for commercial reasons.

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By GlobalData

The deal with Pencarrow had been negotiated over two years and is The Collective’s first equity investment. 

Products destined for the New Zealand market use milk sourced from local dairy giant Fonterra and are made at the Avondale plant, which produces about 300 tonnes of yogurt a week. Allan said the company is keen to buy milk from local farmers. 

The Collective’s products in the UK are made under contract in the Northern Hemisphere, while the company only directly exports to Asia.

Rod Gethen, a managing partner at Pencarrow, said: ”We were impressed with how the brand has turned a declined category into one of immense innovation and excitement. We’re particularly pleased with the company’s growth over a short period of time and we look forward to supporting the business with our strategy expertise as we work to build the global brand.”

The UK arm’s Harvey said: ”When we founded the UK business in 2011 our ambition was to build a brand that would shake things up in the dairy category, with taste at the forefront and innovation at our core.

”We are very proud of our growth journey; starting out with just two people and three flavours and now we have 23 employees, four ranges and over 30 products – with a jam packed innovation plan to come to market throughout 2018.

”We are excited to move forward as one global business with the financial backing and growth expertise from Pencarrow. Together we can accelerate The Collective’s growth ambitions.”