Soc Gen buys Polish baker

The French bank's acquisition of Fornetti Wroclaw is the latest in a spate of deals in Central and Eastern Europe.

French bank Société Générale’s SGAM Eastern Europe Fund has acquired a controlling interest in Fornetti Wroclaw, a master franchiser for Poland of the ‘Fornetti’ baking franchise.

The franchise retails freshly baked products for take-away consumption. Fornetti Wroclaw operates a franchise network with over 200 outlets, which is expected to sell approximately 1,400 tons of pastries across Poland in 2007. It also runs a production facility for the products.

The €156 million private equity fund, which focuses on expansion and buy-out capital investment in mid-sized companies in Central and Eastern Europe, bought the company from the founders who had developed the business since 1999.

Following the acquisition, the minority shareholders will include Staf Beems, a frozen food and consumer business executive, who will become president of the board. He plans to continue to expand its franchise network, rolling out new outlets to increase penetration and expand the brand’s footprint.

SGAM Alternative Investments, part of the bank's asset management arm, launched its private equity platform in 1999 and now offers a range of funds including new technologies and biotech venture capital, expansion capital, leveraged buyouts and fund of funds, investing in Europe and emerging countries.

As at 30 September 2007, SGAM Alternative Investments had €1.8 billion under management in private equity.