EQT: Invests in German BackWerk Group

Stockholm / SE. (eqt) EQT Holding AB has agreed to invest in BackWerk Group – the leading German franchise system, operating in the space of self-service bakery and quick service food – alongside the founders Dr. Hans Christian Limmer and Dr. Dirk Schneider. The two founders will jointly manage the business as co-CEOs and stay invested as significant minority shareholders.

BackWerk was founded in 2003 in Essen/Ruhr, Germany. The Company pioneered in the business concept of self-service discount bakeries and has grown from one single location to more than 300 stores, primarily in the German speaking countries. Over the last decade, BackWerk has been successful in observing consumer trends and adapted to customer´s changed behaviour. The business model has been transformed from being a pure discount bakery concept, to a convenience food offering. The transformation has been highly appreciated among the 220 franchise partners, as well as by external parties, securing BackWerk the titles of Franchisor of the Year both in Germany (2011) and in Austria (2013).

During recent years, the sales of the BackWerk franchise system and the number of locations have been growing significantly – primarily driven by organic expansion. For 2012, system sales amounted to 162 million EUR. BackWerk is primarily focused on Germany but has also entered into other markets such as Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Central Eastern Europe.

«The founders have done an excellent job developing BackWerk to where it is today. Together, we plan to continue to work with the already successful strategy and keep the organization busy with opening new stores in Germany as well as speeding-up international expansion, capitalizing on the experience available in EQT´s Industrial Network», says Dr. Hasso Kaempfe, EQT Industrial Advisor and designated Chairman of the BackWerk Board of Directors.

«BackWerk is a very successful company but we have now reached a point where a strong partner, such as EQT, will help us further develop the business and embark on an even further accelerated growth path – both in Germany and internationally», says Dr. Dirk Schneider, founder and co-CEO of BackWerk. Dr. Christian Limmer, his fellow founder and co-CEO, adds: «Given the strong track record of EQT in the food retail and quick service food segment, we found an excellent partner to further unlock the potential which the current market environment offers and to continue our successful development».

The transaction is subject to customary approval by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed latest during Q1/2014. EQT is the leading private equity group in Northern Europe, with portfolio companies in Northern and Eastern Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than 25 billion EUR and over 550’000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.