About private equity

How private equity invests in privately-owned businesses, supports jobs and creates prosperity.

Members

Login to access your exclusive member-only content and account information.

Login

Not a member? Join us

  • Operate to the highest level of professional standards
  • Access authoritative industry research and data
  • Navigate the complex EU regulatory environment
  • Network and engage with industry leaders
Private equity in action - Case Study

Lily O'Brien's

Back to results
Country Ireland
Region Dublin
Investor The Carlyle Group, Cardinal Capital Group
Share

The Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund (“CCI”) acquired a majority stake in Ireland-based Lily O’Brien’s, an export-led manufacturer of premium branded chocolates and potted desserts, in 2014. The business had significant scope to grow, but needed investment in production capacity and support to build a more diversified offering and customer base. Under CCI’s ownership, Lily O’Brien’s invested significantly in people, new product development and production facilities. CCI focused on diversifying the business across new geographies, product formats and sales channels. This resulted in revenue increasing by almost 50%, UK retail revenue doubling, web sales tripling and EBITDA doubling. With the company set on the path for continued strong growth, CCI sold the business in January 2018 to Colian Holdings SA.

Eoin Donnelly

CEO

Lily O’Brien’s

CCI has been a fantastic partner for Lily O’Brien’s and the management team over the last four years, as the company increased its international sales, invested in new production capacity and enlarged the employee base Quotation Marks Graphic
50%

increase in revenues 2014-17

2x

increase in profits

What did the business need?

  • Capital to expand production capacity and allow the business to capitalise on growth opportunities
  • Consolidation of the shareholding base and positioning for future growth
  • De-risking for the founder and equity incentives for the broader management team

How did private equity backing create lasting value?

  • Doubled production capacity to remove constraints
  • Enlarged UK sales team from 1 to 5 people and invested in marketing to increase brand awareness
  • Diversified product range beyond gifting and seasonal chocolates
  • Invested in a new web platform and own store formats to broaden sales channels
  • Strengthened management team and board with new Head of Sales, new Production Director and industry Non-Executive Director
  • Accelerated the company’s international expansion using the Carlyle global network

What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?

  • Increased total revenue by almost 50% and created significant production capacity for future growth
  • Doubled UK retail revenue through new customers and deeper penetration among existing customers
  • Diversified product range led to snacking becoming almost 10% of revenue at exit
  • Tripled web sales and doubled own store revenue

More information

The Carlyle Group

Lily O'Brien's

Share

What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer or phone?

You can accept or refuse cookies. Accepting cookies is usually the best way to make sure you get the best from a website.

Most PCs automatically accept them but you can change your browser settings to restrict, block or delete cookies if you want. Each browser is different, so check the 'Help' menu of your particular browser (or your mobile phone's handset manual) to learn how to change your cookie preferences. Many browsers have universal privacy settings for you to choose from.

Help on how to set and customise your cookie settings for your browser

How to manage cookies in Internet Explorer

Cookie settings in most versions of Internet Explorer can be found by clicking the tools option and then the privacy tab.

How to manage cookies in Firefox

Cookie settings in Firefox are managed in the Options window's Privacy panel. See Options window - Privacy Panel for information on these settings.

How to manage cookies in Chrome

Click on the spanner icon on the toolbar, select settings, click the under the bonnet tab, click on content settings in the privacy section.

How to manage cookies in Opera 

You can manage cookies in Opera if you Click on settings, then Preferences, then Advanced and finally Cookies

How to manage cookies in Safari

Choose Safari, then preferences and then click security. You should then be able to specify if and when Safari should accept cookies.

To manage cookies on your mobile phone please consult your manual or handbook.

Get more help about how cookies work with specific browsers.

What happens if I don't accept cookies?

If you decline cookies, some aspects of Invest Europe site may not work on your computer or mobile phone and you may not be able to access areas you want on the website. For this reason we recommend that you accept cookies.

What happens if I delete my cookies?

If you delete all your cookies you will have to update your preferences with us again and some aspects of our site may not work.

What happens if I change computers or mobile?

If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preferences again.

If you'd like to learn more about cookies in general and how to manage them, visit aboutcookies.org.

We can't be responsible for the content of external websites.

Opt-out of cookies

Login

Join today

This is for members only. To view in full login or join Invest Europe today.