Swander Pace sells Kicking Horse Coffee to Lavazza Group

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By Ted Liu

The Lavazza Group has acquired an 80% equity stake in Kicking Horse Coffee, Ltd. from Swander Pace Capital, who had originally acquired Kicking Horse Coffee in 2012 in partnership with Jefferson Capital and United Natural Foods.

The transaction valued Kicking Horse Coffee at CDN $215 million.

Elana Rosenfeld, who founded Kicking Horse Coffee in 1996, will retain a 20% equity stake and will continue as Chief Executive Officer.

In connection with transaction, Lavazza Group was assisted by Blake Cassels and Graydon LLP in Toronto acted as legal advisor, J.P. Morgan Limited as financial advisor, Boston Consulting Group as strategic advisor, and PWC for tax and accounting.

Invermere, BC based Kicking Horse Coffee is a leading Canadian organic and fair-trade coffee player. Kicking Horse Coffee remains a pioneer of whole bean and fair trade coffee in Canada and is best known for its distinctive coffee blends and unique brand personality.

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

This transaction represents an important step for the development of our 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.

“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,” commented Rosenfeld. “I am thrilled and honored we now share this beautiful adventure with the Lavazza Group.”

“We proudly welcome Kicking Horse Coffee to our Group. We are confident we will be able to contribute our more than 120 years of coffee experience to the continued growth of a company with great affinity to ours,” stated The Lavazza family.

Established in 1895 in Turin, Italy, The Lavazza Group has been owned by the Lavazza family for four generations. Among the world’s most important roasters, the Group currently operates in more than 90 countries through subsidiaries and distributors, exporting 60% of its production. Lavazza employs a total of about 3,000 people with a turnover of more than €1.9 billion in 2016.

photo credit: Kicking Horse