Lavazza Acquires 80% Stake in Kicking Horse Coffee

The Lavazza Group has purchased a significant equity stake in Kicking Horse Coffee, Ltd, a leading Canadian organic and fair-trade coffee player. With this transaction, Lavazza secures an 80% interest in the company, which was valued CAD 215 million. Elana Rosenfeld, founder of Kicking Horse Coffee in Invermere, British Colombia, Canada, in 1996, will retain a 20% equity stake and will continue as CEO.

“Kicking Horse Coffee represents one of the ‘local jewels’ the Lavazza Group continues to seek as part of its globalization and premium positioning strategy,” says Antonio Baravalle, CEO of the Lavazza Group and future Kicking Horse Coffee chairman.

“Today, organic fair-trade coffee is one of the fastest-growing trends at the international level and in North America in particular. Kicking Horse Coffee leads this segment with a brand that is perfectly complementary to the Lavazza portfolio. In recent years, the company has constantly grown at a double-digit rate and thanks to this acquisition, its growth and development prospects both in and outside of Canada will increase significantly.”

“Kicking Horse Coffee has always distinguished itself for its unrelenting commitment to quality coffee, along with strong sustainability values. The Lavazza Group shares this vision and we now have the perfect partner to assist us in growing and connecting the world with our coffee,” says Elana Rosenfeld, co-founder and CEO of Kicking Horse Coffee.

Lavazza had a record year in 2016, generating revenues of €1.9 billion (+29% from 2015). The Kicking Horse Coffee transaction represents an important step for the development of the Turin, Italy-based company’s strategy in North America, a key market for the Lavazza Group. As with the recent Carte Noire and Merrild acquisitions, Lavazza’s objective is to further increase the “brand equity” of Kicking Horse Coffee while sharing key respective competencies and values. With this acquisition, Lavazza continues its progress of continuous international growth and diversification, consolidating its competitive position among the global sector leaders.

“Lavazza has been clear that it was in the hunt for further acquisitions and North America has been publicly mentioned by company leadership as geography that they were very interested in. Canada is one of the fastest growing coffee markets in the developed world and makes a lot of sense for a company like Lavazza that is struggling to grow volumes in the highly mature markets of Western Europe,” says Matthew Barry, beverages analyst at Euromonitor International. “Kicking Horse seems like a good fit for Lavazza. Ethically-sourced coffee has been a big focus for them in recent years (for example, with the Tierra line) and Kicking Horse operates on the premium end of the price tier where they generally like to be.

The Lavazza Group acquired Kicking Horse from the private-equity fund Swander Pace Capital, which had originally acquired the investment in 2012 in partnership with Jefferson Capital and United Natural Foods.

Established in 1895, the Italian roaster has been owned by the Lavazza family for four generations. The Lavazza Group currently operates in more than 90 countries through subsidiaries and distributors, exporting 60% of its production. It was the first Italian business to offer capsule espresso systems. For more information, visit: www.lavazza.com.

Kicking Horse Coffee, Ltd. is based in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada, remains a pioneer of whole bean and fair trade coffee in Canada. The company was recently named the #10 Best Place to Work in Canada. For more information, visit www.KickingHorseCoffee.com.

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