Bettcher Industries, a leading manufacturer of protein processing equipment, announces the signing of a definitive agreement under which it will acquire Frontmatec (the “Company”) from Axcel. KKR, which acquired Bettcher in December 2021, will invest additional capital from its North American private equity strategy to support the transaction.
Headquartered in Kolding, Denmark, Frontmatec is a global manufacturer of end-to-end automated solutions for pork and beef processing, with world-class robotics and vision system capabilities. The company serves as a full line supplier of processing equipment, parts and services, instruments and software, which help solve key issues around food and worker safety.
The transaction represents an important step in Bettcher and KKR’s strategy to build a scaled food processing automation platform serving food processing plants globally. In addition to delivering leading automation capabilities, the purchase of Frontmatec deepens Bettcher’s footprint in Europe. Frontmatec’s executive team led by Allan Kristensen is expected to remain in place to continue to grow the business after the transaction closes.
“Frontmatec has built a leading brand and position by enabling customers to continuously improve the productivity and safety of their workforce. The company’s capabilities in automation and its global presence make it a superb fit for the Bettcher platform, and we are excited to work with Allan and his team to extend our collective innovation leadership,” said Tim Swanson, CEO of Bettcher.
“We are excited to join forces with Bettcher and believe this strategic transaction will enable Frontmatec to continue expanding our suite of solutions which are helping to meet the accelerating global demand for improved yield in production and food quality. I would like to thank the Axcel team, who have been instrumental in developing Frontmatec into the leading provider it is today, as well as our employees for their tremendous efforts. We are proud of everything we have accomplished and are focused on the exciting opportunity to continue growing our business together with Bettcher and KKR,” said Allan Kristensen, CEO of Frontmatec.
Bettcher will continue to add other world-leading food processing capabilities, while maintaining Frontmatec’s strong culture and values. As part of the transaction, KKR will extend its employee engagement program to all employees at Frontmatec. The strategy’s cornerstone is to allow all employees to take part in the benefits of ownership by granting them the opportunity to participate in any equity return alongside KKR.
“We have great admiration for the Frontmatec team, and view the Company as a highly compelling strategic addition to Bettcher as we pursue our long-term strategy of building a scaled global platform serving customers in the food and food processing industry. We are very excited about the growth that lies ahead, and look forward to continuing to build on the platform from here,” said Dan Daniel, chairman of Bettcher.
“We are thrilled to welcome Frontmatec and its automated food processing capabilities into the Bettcher and KKR family, and thank Axcel for creating an industry leader in automated protein processing. Importantly, we look forward to incorporating Frontmatec and making all employees owners in the combined business as the latest example of our participation in the shared ownership movement,” said Josh Weisenbeck and Brandon Brahm, partners in KKR’s Industrials investment team.
The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2022 subject to customary regulatory approvals. Further terms were not disclosed.
Nordea, Kirkland & Ellis and Moalem Weitemeyer served as advisors to Bettcher and KKR.