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Fenway Partners, a private investment firm, announced today that The H. J. Heinz Company has purchased Delimex, a rapidly growing producer and distributor of branded, high-quality frozen Mexican foods. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Fenway acquired San Diego-based Delimex in 1997 from the original family shareholders and transformed the business from an entrepreneurial family-operated company into a first class organization with a leading brand in the high-growth frozen Mexican category. The Company's rapid and above market growth, which is approximately two
to three times higher than the most attractive food segments, has been driven by a professional management team recruited by Fenway over the past four years. Since the acquisition in 1997, the team has successfully implemented initiatives to grow the business from less than $90 million in sales to more than $150 million in sales today. During Fenway's ownership, Delimex built a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, realized significant cost savings,
reinvested these savings in the marketplace through trade and consumer promotions and advertising, and continued innovative new product introductions, all of which contributed to increased penetration into retail outlets.
"Delimex is well positioned to achieve the next level of growth with Heinz as a strong corporate partner that will provide powerful global marketing and distribution resources," said Peter Lamm, Chairman and CEO of Fenway. "Our vision was to accelerate the growth of the business and we achieved that objective through a combination of retail expansion, high quality new product introductions, significant investments in the
company's operations and advertising, and recruitment of an outstanding management team. Most importantly, we accomplished our goals while preserving Delimex's distinctive entrepreneurial culture."
Founded in 1984, Delimex began as a supplier of frozen tamales to warehouse clubs.
Neil Harrison, President and CEO of Heinz Frozen Food Company, stated: "Delimex gives Heinz a solid base for building a branded Mexican presence for the first time. The popularity of Mexican food continues to
rise and consumers are relying more than ever before on grab-and-go foods."