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Abris nets strong return on Graal exit

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ESG transformation specialist sells Polish canned fish producer following six-year growth investment

20 February 2023, Warsaw

Abris Capital Partners (“Abris”), the ESG transformation specialist private equity investor, has signed preliminary agreement to sell 100% of its shares in Graal company, a leading canned fish producer in Poland, alongside the company’s founder, Bogusław Kowalski. The transaction is subject to Polish antimonopoly office approval and excludes Koral’s fresh and smoked fish business, produced under the Superfish brand and private label.

Headquartered in Wejherowo, Graal manufactures a wide range of canned and chilled fish-based products, as well as meat-based prepared foods. It produces branded products under the Graal, Neptun and Kuchnia Staropolska brands, and is a major private label supplier. The company will be acquired by Lisner Holding Sp. z o.o., which belongs to the German food business Müller Group (Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller).

Abris is exiting its investment following a six-year investment period during which the company has grown revenues and Ebitda consistently, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical challenges.

Wojciech Jezierski, partner at Abris commented:
“During our partnership with Graal and Bogusław Kowalski we have helped create an unquestionable market leader with a diverse portfolio of branded and private label products. It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary team at Graal. We are proud of what we have achieved together and are delighted that the business has found such a complementary partner in Lisner to continue its growth strategy”.

Abris acquired a majority stake in Graal in February 2017, in what was the first public-to-private transaction in which a private equity fund partnered with a business founder to complete a tender offer for 100% of a company’s shares, and to subsequently delist the business from the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Since its investment, Abris has focused on implementing a broad range of value creation initiatives, including operational improvements, commercial strategy implementation, developing and strengthening the sales and marketing functions and investing significantly in capex programs. Graal Group (consisted of Graal and Koral) now operates from three manufacturing facilities and a distribution center in Poland, employing more than 2,200 people, and exports to 38 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australia. The Group recorded sales of PLN 1.6bn (EUR 350m) in 2022.

Bogusław Kowalski, CEO and founder of Graal commented:
“I’m grateful to Abris, my business partner, for all we have jointly achieved over the past six years, which is more than we thought possible. After 33 years of development of the company, I will step aside at Graal after short transition period. Graal and its management is now looking forward to joining forces with Lisner. The Graal and Lisner businesses have strong product complementarity, and I’m convinced that new owner will create fantastic opportunities for Graal to continue its growth strategy, entering new geographic locations in Europe and globally.”