Berkshire Launches El Dorado Foods

Berkshire Partners has partnered with food executive Javier Vélez-Bautista to form El Dorado Foods. Mr. Vélez-Bautista now becomes the CEO of El Dorado and the new platform will be active acquiring Latin-inspired food and beverage brands.

Mr. Vélez-Bautista was most recently the chief executive officer of Mission Foods, a producer of tortillas and other Mexican food products and a subsidiary of Irving, Texas-based Gruma Corporation which in turn is owned by Monterrey, Mexico-based Gruma, SAB de CV, the largest corn flour and tortilla manufacturer in the world (“SAB de CV” stands for Sociedad Anonima de Capital Variable, a Mexican corporate structure).

“Latin-inspired foods are some of the fastest-growing categories in grocery today, and the landscape is rich with authentic, beloved brands with unique products,” said Mr. Vélez-Bautista. “I look forward to applying my experience in this market to help entrepreneurs and leaders propel their businesses and could not be more excited to start this venture with Berkshire Partners. The firm has a long history of identifying and scaling brands that have a special resonance with consumers. With our collective capabilities, El Dorado Foods will partner with the most distinctive and innovative Latin food and beverage brands on store shelves today.”

Mr. Vélez-Bautista previously held other senior leadership positions with Gruma including chief financial officer and he was a member of the company’s board of directors. After running consulting firm ValueLink for a decade, he rejoined Mission Foods in 2012 as its CEO. He held that position until 2018 and has since been active in various executive advisory roles, including with Berkshire Partners.

“We are thrilled to partner with Javier, who is an accomplished leader with a proven track record for growing companies in this market,” said Josh Lutzker, a managing director of Berkshire. “His passion for food, unique understanding of the Latin-inspired flavors consumers love, and expertise building brands with enduring value make him an ideal partner.”

Boston-based Berkshire Partners makes majority or minority equity investments of $50 million to $500 million in companies with enterprise values from $200 million to $2 billion. Typical targets will have revenues of more than $100 million and EBITDA greater than $25 million. Berkshire focuses primarily on North American companies however it will pursue select international opportunities as well. Sectors of interest include consumer, business services and technology, industrials, communications, and healthcare.

Berkshire is currently investing from Berkshire Fund IX LP, a $5.5 billion fund raised in 2016. In August, the firm launched fundraising for Berkshire Fund X LP with a target of $6.5 billion.

Private Equity Professional | September 10, 2020

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