Nestlé SA Hands European Pizza Business to PAI Partners

April 26, 2023
Another joint venture with the French private equity firm, reminiscent of Nestle’s ice cream businesses.

Nestlé SA announced another joint venture with French private equity firm PAI Partners, setting up a joint venture for the former’s frozen pizza business in Europe. The deal does not involve Nestle USA’s pizza business.

Nestlé will retain a non-controlling stake with equal voting rights alongside PAI Partners. The transaction is subject to employee consultations and the approval of regulatory authorities and is expected to close in the second half of 2023. Financial details were not disclosed.

Nestlé's pizza business spans several countries across Europe, with an annual turnover of around CHF 400 million ($450 million). It’s a solid business but apparently one whose slow growth and less-than-healthy attributes do not suit Nestle’s current goals.

Nestle pizzas are distributed under the Wagner, Buitoni and Garden Gourmet brands in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands. The business will be headquartered in Germany. It will operate manufacturing facilities, in Nonnweiler, Germany, and Benevento, Italy.

"We took a thorough look at our European pizza business and concluded that partnering with PAI provides the best platform to develop its full potential,” said Marco Settembri, a Nestle Executive Vice President and CEO of Zone Europe. “Nestlé will remain invested in this business and participate in future growth and value creation as the joint venture continues to provide the very best pizza for consumers and retail partners."

This partnership follows the 2016 creation of Froneri as a joint venture with PAI to operate Nestle’s European ice cream business; Nestle’s U.S. ice cream business was folded in at the end of 2019. PAI Partners has many joint ventures and acquisitions, including PepsiCo’s former Tropicana juice business, which was fully acquired in 2021.

Repeating and emphasizing: “Nestlé's leading pizza business in the United States is not part of the scope and remains integral to Nestlé's frozen food operations there,” the news release said.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.