Arbor Investments has sold ice cream maker Fieldbrook Foods to Wells Enterprises. Arbor acquired Fieldbrook in September 2010 through the firm’s second fund.
Fieldbrook Foods is a private label and co-manufacturer of ice cream and frozen novelty products including ice cream sandwiches, cups, cones and stick novelties. The company’s products are distributed to all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Fieldbrook, led by CEO Robin Galloway, ranks among the largest ice cream makers in the United States and can produce over 120 million dozen of frozen novelties and 25 million gallons of ice cream annually. The company is headquartered near Buffalo in Dunkirk, NY and has manufacturing facilities in Dunkirk (234,000 sq. ft.) and Lakewood, NJ (40,000 sq. ft.) (www.fieldbrookfoods.com).
Wells Enterprises is the largest privately held, family-owned ice cream manufacturer in the United States. The company produces more than 150 million gallons of ice cream per year and distributes products in all 50 states. Company-owned brand names include Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop, Blue Ribbon Classics and Chilly Cow. Wells Enterprises, with more than 3,000 employees, was founded in 1913 by Fred Wells and is headquartered in Le Mars, IA (www.wellsenterprisesinc.com).
During Arbor’s term of ownership, Fieldbrook grew revenue nearly 70% while completing the acquisitions of Mister Cookie Face, a Lakewood, NJ-based maker of ice cream novelties in 2011 and Washburn Dairy, a Gloversville, NY-based maker of ice cream novelties in 2012.
According to Arbor, a key to its success with Fieldbrook was the recruitment of Ms. Galloway, former CFO of The Schwan Food Company, to join the company as CEO in January 2018. “Robin was a proven business leader with strong experience and knowledge of the ice cream industry. She made an immediate impact at a critical time in the company’s lifecycle by implementing key initiatives to increase profitability and solidify relationships with our blue-chip customers. I couldn’t be more pleased with Robin’s leadership and the momentum she brought to the business,” said Joseph Campolo, Arbor co-founder and president.
The sale of Fieldbrook brings about the conclusion of Arbor’s second fund, Arbor Investments II LP, a 2006 vintage fund with $170 million in capital. The fund generated a 2.5X net return on invested capital and a 19.5% net IRR which, based on publicly available industry data, places it among the top 10 of 2006 vintage private equity funds.
“We’re elated with the performance of Fund II and the returns we produced for our investors,” said Mr. Campolo. “To generate such strong, consistent results during one of the most difficult vintages in private equity truly underscores the Arbor difference.”
Arbor invests in the food, beverage and related industries. Typical targets will have annual revenues of up to $300 million and EBITDA from $5 million to $50 million. Since founding in 1999 the firm has acquired or invested in over 55 food and beverage companies in North America. In July 2016, Arbor closed its fourth equity fund, Arbor Investments IV LP, with $765 million of capital and its first subordinated debt fund, Arbor Debt Opportunities Fund I LP, with $125 million of capital. Arbor is based in Chicago (www.arborpic.com).
© 2019 Private Equity Professional | April 16, 2019