Moraitis Group sold to Chevalier International Holdings

Transaction News

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EY recently advised on the successful sale of the Moraitis Group to Chevalier International. Our understanding of the food/fresh produce sector and global reach identified a number of potential key strategic buyers for the Group.

Date completed: April 2013
EY role: lead adviser to Moraitis Group and its shareholders
Outcome: Chevalier’s first major acquisition in the Australian market, providing access into new markets. The transaction is expected to drive significant future growth opportunities for both parties

Moraitis Group - our client

Moraitis Group (the Group) is Australia’s largest supplier of fruits and vegetables and a market-leader in the fresh produce sector. Moraitis specialises in the Australia-wide sourcing, aggregation and supply of a broad portfolio of fresh produce categories.

In May 2006, Moraitis shareholders divested 49% of the business to Catalyst Investment Managers, a leading independent Australasian private equity firm Catalyst has a reputation built on its longevity in the market, superior track record and extensive local network, with in excess of $1 billion in funds under management.

The buyer

Chevalier International (Chevalier) is a Hong Kong-listed conglomerate with a diverse range of business interests in construction and engineering, insurance and financial investment, property and hotels, information technology and leisure. Chevalier’s majority of investment in the Group was driven by a strong belief in the Moraitis business model as the most efficient for giving growers’ produce full route to market, providing value-add for retailers and ultimately delivering the freshest highest quality produce for consumers.

The sale process

EY Transaction Advisory Services team acted as lead advisor to the shareholders of the Moraitis Group on the successful sale of the business to Chevalier. This engagement was won due to EY’s extensive experience transacting in the food/fresh produce sector and longstanding relationships with both Catalyst Investment Managers and the Moraitis family.

EY provided strategic, financial and commercial advice to the shareholders of the Moraitis Group, the Moraitis family and Catalyst throughout the entire process.

Our Transaction Advisory Services on this sale included:

  • Lead advisory, with EY's mergers & acquisition team leading the transaction from initiation and identification of buyers through to successful completion
  • Transaction Support including preparation of vendor financial due diligence report
  • Valuation and business modelling
  • Transaction tax, including tax structuring advice

Tim Bennett, Partner at EY comments:

“The successful close of this highly complex cross-border transaction underscores the market-leading capabilities and profile of the cross Transactions Advisory Services team at EY, including M&A, Transaction Support, Valuations & Business Modelling and tax. The transaction also highlights the power of our global network through its ability to source the preferred counterparty to the transaction.”

Driving Exceptional Service

“We were impressed by Ernst & Young’s global reach and existing relationships with the potential buyer universe which enabled them to bring all relevant parties to the table. 

EY leveraged their transaction experience and in-depth sector knowledge to clearly articulate the key value drivers of the Moraitis business, whilst their tenacity and commitment throughout a complex transaction was crucial to delivering the outcome for the Moraitis stakeholders.”
Simon Dighton, MD, Catalyst Investment Managers

The outcome

This is Chevalier’s first major acquisition in the Australian market and provides reciprocal access into new markets. The transaction is expected to drive significant future growth opportunities for both parties.