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Welbilt Enters the Coffee Market with Crem Acquisition

Florida-based manufacturer buys European maker of coffee equipment.

In a deal valued at $224 million, Welbilt will acquire Avaj International Holding AB from private equity firms Priveq Investment Fund IV L.P. and SEB Venture Capital. Avaj goes to market as Crem International and manufactures coffee machines.

Crem is headquartered in Solna, Sweden, and has manufacturing sites in Amotfors, Sweden, Gandia, Spain, and Shanghai, China. The company also has three research and development centers and six sales offices. Crem develops, manufactures and markets coffee machines under three brand names: Coffee Queen, Expobar and Spengler for use in offices, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, catering and convenience stores.

“The acquisition of Crem International is the first step in realizing our ambition to complement our organic growth strategy with select bolt-on acquisitions,” said Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, Welbilt’s president and CEO. “Crem expands our full line of commercial foodservice equipment coverage by adding the fast-growing hot coffee category to our portfolio. … Crem is very strong in Europe and Asia, supporting our strategic objective of expanding our presence in these two important regions. We foresee significant cross-selling opportunities between Crem’s and Welbilt’s respective customer bases in those regions and see further opportunity to bring Crem’s to Welbilt’s customer base in the U.S. and include it as a core offering in our fitkitchen system solutions.”

In 2017, Crem generated sales of $90 million, per a release announcing the deal. Subject to certain closing conditions, Welbilt expects the transaction to close during its second fiscal quarter of 2018.