Graal sells canning business to UTM’s Lisner Holding

Graal canned seafood products.

The canning operations of Wejherowo, Poland-based fish-processing firm Graal Capital Group have been sold to Lisner Holding, a subsidiary of Fischach, Germany-based UTM (Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller).

Overall, Graal operates four manufacturing facilities in Poland, employing more than 2,200 people, and exports to 38 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The company recorded sales of EUR 350 million (USD 371 million) in 2022.

Graal Group’s Polinord Kartoszyno operations include 18 production lines and seven packing lines producing 100 types of products and up to 20 million cans per month, equating to 160 metric tons of product daily. It is a manufacturer or canned and chilled fish-based products and prepared foods under the Graal, Neptun, and Kuchnia Staropolska brands and for private-label sale.

The sale does not include Graal’s Koral holdings, which processes 120 metric tons of fresh, cold and hot smoked and marinated fish products daily under the Superfish brand in a 22,000-square-meter facility in Tszew, Poland. The plant has 26 production lines and 1,000 employees.

Also known as the Müller Group, UTM was founded in 1896 and remains family-owned and -operated. UTM is a dairy specialist with 19 global production sites, primarily in Germany and the U.K. It had EUR 8.8 billion (USD 9.3 billion) in sales in 2022. Lisner is based in Poznan, Poland and specializes in the fish delicatessen segment.

“Graal and its management are now looking forward to joining forces with Lisner. The Graal and Lisner businesses have strong product complementarity, and I'm convinced that the new owner will create fantastic opportunities for Graal to continue its growth strategy, entering new geographic locations in Europe and globally,” Graal Founder and CEO Bogusław Kowalski said in a press release.

Kowalski said he plans to resign from his leadership position at Graal following the transaction.

Private equity fund Abris Capital Partners, which was Graal’s primary shareholder, was represented by Antarctica Advisors in the sale process.

“During our partnership with Graal and Bogusław Kowalski, we have helped create an unquestionable market leader with a diverse portfolio of branded and private label products,” Abris Partner Wojciech Jezierski said. “It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary team at Graal. We are proud of what we have achieved together and are delighted that the business has found such a complementary partner in Lisner to continue its growth strategy.”

Kowalski said his partnership with Abris had been a fruitful one.

“I'm grateful to Abris, my business partner, for all we have jointly achieved over the past six years, which is more than we thought possible,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Graal


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