Irish food tech firm Odenberg sold for up to €57.5m


THE OWNERS of Dublin-based food technology company Odenberg have agreed to sell the business for up to €57.5 million to a listed group in Norway called Tomra Systems.

An initial €52 million will be paid in cash for Odenberg, with a further €5.5 million payable if certain financial targets are met for 2010 and 2011.

Odenberg is owned by ACT Venture Capital in Dublin and members of the Van den Bergh family in Belgium. ACT owns 26 per cent of the business, having first invested in Odenberg in 1999.

Set up in 1968, Odenberg employs 120 people at its base in Citywest, near Saggart in south Dublin. Staff are involved in technical design of its sorting and processing equipment, software development and RD activities.

While Odenberg operates below the media radar in Ireland, the company is a well-known player in the food processing sector globally.

Its equipment produces about 65 per cent of all French fries worldwide. Six of the world’s top-10 food companies are customers of the Dublin-based business. It has about 500 potato and vegetable steam peeling units with customers worldwide.

Odenberg also has facilities in the US, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Slovakia, and employs 170 staff in total.

It is expected to generate revenues of about €40 million this year and earnings before interest and tax of more than €4 million. About 98 per cent of its sales are generated from export markets.

In total, Odenberg has sold more than 2,500 optical sorting systems and steam peelers worldwide. It also provides patented chilled and freezing systems for food products.

The Irish company is led by chairman Shane Mulhall and managing director Maurice Moynihan.

Odenberg was advised by AIB Corporate Finance and Reddy Charlton McKnight.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in January. Odenberg will be bought by Tomra’s wholly owned subsidiary, TiTech, which specialises in industrial processing technology and focuses on the recycling, mining and food industries globally.

In a statement yesterday, TiTech said the acquisition of Odenberg would expand and complement its portfolio of industrial processing technology.

It described the Irish company as a “good strategic fit”. The combined revenues of TiTech and Odenberg will be more than €100 million.

Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, Tomra had annual sales of more than 3.3 billion Norwegian Kroner (€418 million) last year. The company was founded in 1972 and specialises in recycling and industrial processing. It has operations in 55 countries.