Thomson Snell & Passmore advises on sale of premium dessert supplier, Rhokett Limited, to Spanish Private Equity backed food group, Palacios

Thomson Snell & Passmore

Deal type: Business sale
Industry Sector: Food supplier
Completion date: November 2021
Adviser(s): Thomson Snell & Passmore 

A leading Kent based supplier of exceptional, premium chilled desserts, Rhokett Limited,  which has been operating for over 19 years, has been sold to private equity backed Palacios, a Spanish organisation which develops, produces and sells a wide range of food products.  South East Law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore has advised the shareholders of Rhokett Limited on the deal.

The transaction involved Palacios acquiring a majority interest in Rhokett’s shares, with the option to purchase the remaining shares from the management team at a later date.

Rhokett was established in 2002 by Michelin star chef Gary Rhodes OBE, Martin Dockett and Peter Le Voir. Rhokett is a food industry respected brand, which offers a broad range of great tasting, hand-finished desserts that bring restaurant quality products into the home. It has long-standing relationships with well-known, major food retailers and food service clients.

The Company is also known for its very strong in-house R&D capabilities and has invested in three state of the art production facilities in Cranbrook and Hawkhurst in Kent. This has resulted in a strong track-record of growth and profitability.

Palacios was founded in 1960 as a family butchers. Today, it employs over 1,000 staff and has five production facilities in Spain and one in the US. In 2020, sales were c. 255 million. It sells its products in Spain, France, Portugal, the US, the UK, Belgium, and Germany, as well as in forty other countries, through select retailers and food service outlets.

Throughout its history, Palacios has grown both organically and inorganically with the acquisition of other businesses, some of which still run as independent business units. It is backed by MCH Private Equity Investments, which holds 73% of its shares. MCH, founded in 1998, is the management company of several private equity funds, which manage in excess of €1,100 million, and whose investors are well-recognised national and international financial institutions, such as pension funds and insurance companies.

Joanne Gallagher, M&A Partner and Head of Corporate team at Thomson Snell & Passmore led the legal team on the sale for Rhokett. She was supported by Faye Cook, Georgia Jeffery and Rachel Macmillan in the Corporate team. Joanne Wright and Caroline Cohen advised on the Commercial Property aspects of the deal.

Due to the nature of the transaction, the deal necessitated a multidisciplinary project team, which included Katya Batchelor advising on Banking and Finance matters, Ben Stepney on Employment, Nitzan Cohen advising on Tax, Poh-Leng Devare on Commercial matters, and Mathew Boyle on Pensions.

Shaun Brownell and Hannah Harries both of Spayne Lindsay & Co were lead advisory on the corporate finance aspects of the transaction.

Commenting on the recent sale, Joanne Gallagher at Thomson Snell & Passmore says: “It is always rewarding to build a long term relationship with our clients, to support them with their growth plans and to ultimately form part of their deal team when they sell. We are delighted to have been able to harness our M&A expertise, as well as our experience in the food and drink sector to complete this deal for the shareholders of Rhokett. We are sure that as part of a new enlarged international group, Rhokett, will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Peter Le Voir at Rhokett adds: “We are very grateful to our advisers at Spayne Lindsay and Thomson Snell & Passmore for guiding us through the majority shareholding sale process to Palacios, who we have known for some years. We look forward to the partnership and tremendous opportunities with Palacios going forward who we believe will be strong custodians of the key elements of the business that we and in particular Martin have built up including key customer and other stakeholder relationships, and our tremendous team.”

Pedro Dominguez, CEO at Palacios Group concludes: “This acquisition is aligned with our strategic objectives, internationalising the Palacios Group in one of the most interesting markets such as the United Kingdom, focusing and growing in pastry, one of our ‘core’ businesses. We have acquired a great company, managed by an excellent team and we are very happy to start this new adventure.”