International private equity firm 3i has bought a stake in private label fruit juice and soft drinks maker Refresco for EUR84m (US$113m).

3i said last week (25 March) that it had agreed to acquire newly issued Refresco shares, representing a 20% stake in the total share capital of the company.

The existing shareholders, an Icelandic consortium of investors led by Stodir, and the management of Refresco, will maintain their shareholdings and fully support the transaction, 3i said.

Refresco has created a European manufacturing platform for non-alcoholic beverages and operates 19 production sites in eight European countries.

Refresco said its “buy-and-build” growth strategy aims at further expanding and strengthening its market-leading position on the European market, through acquisitions and organic growth.

This marks the second time that 3i has invested in Refresco, having supported a management buyout in 2003.

Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco, said: “We are very excited by the capital injection and the re-entry of 3i. Refresco is a fast growing company with ambitious plans for the future. Through our “buy-and-build“ strategy we can now further extend our presence in the European market through acquisitions as well as by internal growth. We know that 3i is a reliable and dedicated partner who will support us in achieving our goals.”

Only a year ago, Refresco was said to be in talks with private equity groups about a takeover deal.