Industry & Business

Lily O’Brien’s Sold to Colian Holdings For €40 Million

 Breaking News
  • Fine Grain Property acquires 60,000 square feet office development in Cork Airport Business Park New Year, new acquisition! Fine Grain Property is delighted to announce it has acquired a 60,000 square feet office development in Cork Airport Business Park. Plans are already afoot to carry out some important improvements to the Building that will benefit its existing tenants, including Aviva, Aon Hewitt, JLT and Genesis. In addition, a significant [...]...
  • Irish Technology Sector Has Overtaken Agriculture With 130,000 people now employed, the technology sector has overtaken agriculture as Ireland’s largest industry, according to Ken Finnegan (pictured above), formerly Chief Technology and Research Advisor for IDA Technology Ireland and now Director of Technology & Innovation for the about to be opened Harbour Innovation Campus at Dún Laoghaire. About 15,000 of these tech [...]...
  • 2018 Research and Innovation Conference & Exhibition Provides Insight into the R&D and Innovation Ecosystem in Ireland Designed to foster collaboration between industry, academia and government agencies, the 2018 Research and Innovation Conference & Exhibition attracted over 1,000 visitors from across the major industrial sectors in Ireland to the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, on Wednesday, March 14th. The visitors who braved the inclement weather were able to meet with the key organisations that are [...]...
  • Dunnes Stores Comes Out on Top of a Growing Grocery Market The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the 12 weeks ending 25 February 2018, show continued positive momentum among Irish supermarkets, with growth hitting 3.9%. David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “Shoppers have spent an additional €96 million on groceries over the latest 12 weeks compared to last year and two [...]...
  • New Irish Peer-to-peer Energy Trading Research Project Using Blockchain Technology Imagine a future where Irish consumers will be able to gift or sell their solar power across their neighbourhood as well as sharing and managing their own electricity in a myriad of new ways. EnerPort, a new project launched at the recent International Energy Research Centre (IERC) Annual Conference, aims to accelerate peer-to-peer energy trading [...]...

Lily O’Brien’s Sold to Colian Holdings For €40 Million

Lily O’Brien’s Sold to Colian Holdings For €40 Million
January 04
09:23 2018

Lily O’Brien’s, the Irish manufacturer of premium chocolate and desserts, is being acquired by Colian Holding of Poland for €40 million on a debt-free, cash free basis from its existing shareholders, the Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund (CCI) and members of the Lily O’Brien’s management team. The acquisition is expected to complete in January 2018.

Based in Kildare and founded in 1992 by Mary Ann O’Brien in the kitchen of her home, Lily O’Brien’s today employs 120 people at its Newbridge plant and generated revenues in excess of €30 million during 2016.

Employing approx. 2,000 people, Colian Holdings is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and is a Polish producer and distributor of food products in the confectionery, culinary products and beverage sectors. Colian has a number of leading and trusted brands in the Polish market, and exports to over 60 countries around the world. The acquisition of Elizabeth Shaw, a UK chocolate business, in 2016 represented Colian’s first international acquisition and the start of its strategy of continued expansion into international markets through the purchase of high quality and well-loved brands.

CCI, the private equity fund focusing on investments across the island of Ireland founded by The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group, acquired a majority shareholding in Lily O’Brien’s in January 2014, investing alongside Eoin Donnelly (CEO), Mary Ann O’Brien (founder) and other members of the management team. Lily O’Brien’s has undergone significant growth during the four years of CCI ownership. Since 2013, total revenues and global export revenues have increased by almost 50%, underpinned by increased investment in production facilities and new product development.

Lily O’Brien’s represents a compelling strategic fit for Colian with its high level of brand recognition and market position, complementing Colian’s existing products. Lily O’Brien’s currently exports more than 80% of its products and the brand is sold in more than 15 countries. In addition to its international retail presence, the company also supplies airlines and food services companies, with the brand available on 20 airlines around the world. Lily O’Brien’s has a successful innovation track record that can be applied across the enlarged group, as well as an accomplished international management team.

Lily O’Brien’s will continue to be run by its existing Irish management team led by CEO, Eoin Donnelly, with Mary Ann O’Brien remaining as a director and consultant to the company. Colian’s vision is to continue the growth trajectory of Lily O’Brien’s as a premium global chocolate and dessert brand through further investment in production, sales and marketing, and innovation. Lily O’Brien’s will continue to develop its Newbridge operations to support this growth.

Eoin Donnelly, CEO of Lily O’Brien’s, said: “CCI has been a fantastic partner for Lily O’Brien’s and the management team over the last four years, as the company increased its international sales, invested in new production capacity and enlarged the employee base.  We selected Colian as the new owner for the business given our shared vision of growing our brand globally. Colian exports to over 60 countries worldwide, providing us with access to potential new markets, and their commitment to new product development and innovation is very exciting for employees and the company.”

Jonathan Cosgrave, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, said: “Lily O’Brien’s was our first investment in the Irish market and working with a world class management team led by Eoin and Mary Ann has been a privilege for us. The business has grown in every respect during the four years of our investment and the acquisition price recognises the value of both the Lily O’Brien’s brand and the capabilities of the business.  It has also created a sustainable impact for the Irish economy.”

Nick Corcoran, Founder of Cardinal Capital Group, said: “The Lily O’Brien’s investment highlights the value of private equity for Irish companies and their management teams. Over the last four years, we have become an important source of funding and support for Irish companies, investing in eight companies, including AA Ireland, Carroll’s and Sam McCauley, and employing more than 4,000 people across our portfolio. We look forward to supporting more Irish companies with investment in 2018.”

Pictured are: Eoin Donnelly, CEO, Lily O’Brien’s; John Dolan, Managing Director Private Equity, Cardinal Capital Group; with Lily’s board member Jonathan Cosgrave, Managing Director of Carlyle.

About Author



Related Articles

New Subscriber

Subscribe Here


National Manufacturing Conference & Exhibition 2018

NIBRT Springboard Success Stories

Upcoming Events

  • No upcoming events
AEC v1.0.4