BiaVest takes a bite out of Offbeat Donuts

Investment firm teams up with grocer Noel Smith to invest in Irish baked foods business

David McKernan and Hilliard Lombard of BiaVest in background, and Sandra O’Casey and Brian O’Casey of Offbeat Donuts. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

David McKernan and Hilliard Lombard of BiaVest in background, and Sandra O’Casey and Brian O’Casey of Offbeat Donuts. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

BiaVest, an Irish food industry investment firm, has teamed up with well-known retailer Noel Smith, the founder of supermarket chain Fresh, to take a major stake in OffBeat Donuts, a chain of 10 shops that also wants to expand abroad.

It is BiaVest’s second new investment in as many weeks, after it recently revealed it had taken a stake in Nobó, a dairy-free ice-cream and chocolate producer. BiaVest declined to reveal a value for either investment.

Offbeat Donuts, set up in 2016 by husband-and-wife team Brian and Sandra O’Casey, operates eight company-owned shops, while there are also two franchisees operating under its name, all in the Dublin area. The company also sells its wares through aggregator apps such as Deliveroo and Just Eat.

The business intends to use the investment to help finance expansion, such as opening shops outside Dublin. It also intends to expand internationally to “the UK, US and Middle East”, according to its new backers. Its most recent new outlet opened in Blanchardstown shopping centre in December.

Two founders

BiaVest was founded by food industry executives Hilliard Lombard, who previously ran the Irish operation of Valeo Foods and was also a senior executive with Aryzta; and his business partner David McKernan, who built the Java Republic coffee brand.

It is understood that BiaVest is backed by private Irish investors, although it may raise institutional capital in future. It is seeking investments in growing Irish food companies with earnings of less than €5 million. It may also consider investing in food companies from other European countries in future.

“The growth of Offbeat Donuts over the past five years has been truly impressive. Brian and Sandra have gone head to head with international competitors and always succeeded,” said Mr McKiernan.

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