Bahrain's Investcorp acquires US-based food distributor

The alternative assets manager buys seafood and gourmet food distributor Fortune Fortune International for an undisclosed amount

Investcorp on Monday said it closed a new fund with €318 million in commitments . Courtesy Investcorp
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Investcorp acquired a stake in US seafood and gourmet food distributor Fortune International, as the Bahraini asset manager continues to diversify its portfolio of investments in the country.

Fortune International's chief executive Sean O’Scannlain, who founded the company in 2001, will continue to lead and maintain a "significant" ownership stake, Investcorp said, without giving the value or the size of stake bought. Investment bank Houlihan Lokey advised Fortune on the deal.

"Our partnership with Fortune is in line with our investment strategy of investing in companies that have a robust track record and potential for continued growth," Yusef Al Yusef, managing director at Investcorp for Abu Dhabi and Kuwait markets, said on Wednesday. "Fortune's positioning as a leading specialty distributor of seafood and gourmet food products makes it the ideal partner for us."

The latest transaction is Manama-based Investcorp's fifth partnership over the past two yearswith a US founder-led business. Previous examples of its investment in the supply chain and distribution industries include Berlin Packaging, FleetPride and American Tire Distributors.

Fortune distributes fresh and frozen seafood and gourmet foods, offering more than 12,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) to fine-dining restaurants, grocery stores and hotels, primarily across the Midwest region in the US. The company has expanded its geographic footprint by acquiring specialty distributors in strategic markets.

"Investcorp is the ideal firm to serve as our first institutional capital partner, given their deep understanding of the food-service distribution market ... and their strong track record of scaling businesses," Mr O'Scannlain said. "With the support of Investcorp’s resources and expertise, Fortune will be well positioned to execute on management’s growth strategy.”

Fortune operates a distribution centre in Bensenville, Illinois, close to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which facilitates deliveries of products across key Midwestern markets. The company also operates facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Bayou La Batre, Alabama; Birmingham, Alabama and Picayune, Mississippi.

Earlier this month, Investcorp reported a 17 per cent decline in net income in the first half of its financial year to December 31, but said its assets under management increased despite a subdued global economy and a rise in geopolitical tensions.

Net profit for the six-month period dropped to $48 million (Dh176m). The company, which counts Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company as its biggest shareholder, said assets under management increased by $3 billion to $31.1bn during the reporting period.