Even the war, which has frozen the investment plans of dozens of companies, does not seem to sway Spyros Theodoropoulos, who with a full “wallet”, after last year’s golden deal of selling Chipita to Mondelēz, is preparing to “break the bank”.

Maybe the diversified businessman with the golden agreement of 2 billion dollars, but who’s also “lucky” if we judge from the result of the geopolitical crisis with the suspension of the operation of  western companies in Russia and Ukraine, “lost” the “crown jewel”, but today he is building a new “empire” with the jewel of the country’s leading chocolate industry, ION.

Exactly 6 weeks ago, both the management of the ION chocolate industry, with a 32-word announcement, and Spyros Theodoropoulos, categorically denied the forthcoming deal, however, financial circles within the market maintained the script, claiming that the discussions exist.

Finally, the strong gossip about the sale of ION was officially confirmed yesterday, proving once again useful.

The 5 deals and the goal

The acquisition of 45% of the shares of ION with the possibility of acquiring the majority, is the 5th deal of the real estate businessman since last summer. And it will probably not be the last, as it is rumored that he is preparing to set sail for Crete “entering” the share capital of the Cretan food industry KREMEL, which operates in the category of plant-based food through its cooperation with the American firm Good Planet Foods .

Prior to ION, the acquisition of EDESMA and its subsidiary, AMBROSIA (the object of which is the production of cold cuts, ready-made salads and meals, since 1991), was announced while even earlier he had reached an initial agreement with its shareholders Hellenic Juices, jointly with Apostolos Tamvakakis (through the investment fund, EOS, managed by the latter), for the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.

In addition, last summer he acquired 21.5% of the northern Greek dairy industry MEVGAL.

Spyros Theodoropoulos already owns the Nikas meat industry, which will soon be delisted, while he is a co-founder and main shareholder in the Wonderplant company that is active in hydroponic tomato cultivation.

By further strengthening its presence in the food sector, either individually or collaboratively, he acquired synergy opportunities with the aim of creating a strong group in categories that have growth prospects, as well as exports. In fact, for a few days now he has established a new holding company, with a share capital of 140 million euros.

The share capital of the new company of the well-known businessman, under the name Bespoke SGA Holdings, amounts to 140 million euros, of which 1.4 million euros is ascribed to Spyros Theodoropoulos (1% of the share capital) and the rest ( 138.6 million or 99%) to SAG Investments & Holdings Limited, based in Cyprus. An amount of 35 million euros was paid in cash at the time of the establishment of the company while the remaining 105 million euros will be paid, also in cash, in four installments of 26.25 million euros (one each year until the end of 2026).

Up against Mondelēz

Among other things, the acquisition of ION, which had been besieged in the past by many suitors (from Nestlé, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Vivartia and RJR Nabisco to Mr. Theodoropoulos himself) brings the bold businessman up against Mondelēz in the chocolate industry. The multinational that bought Chipita, own the rival firm Pavlidis chocolate.

Sales over 110 million euros

Regarding ION, founded in 1930, in 2020 its turnover amounted to 118.91 million euros, compared to 118.84 million euros in 2019, while pre-tax profits decreased to 11.70 million euros, from 14.27 million euros in 2019.

In the same year, the industry had 931 employees. Apart from a strong share in the domestic market, it exports to: Canada, United States, Panama, United Kingdom, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, China, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Egypt, UAE, Syria and Tunisia. It should be noted that exports resulted in sales of 11 million euros for 2020, from 11.18 million euros in 2019.

ION has three state-of-the-art production units in Arta, Neo Faliro and Markopoulo, Attica. The company also maintains a production unit in Sofia, Bulgaria. This subsidiary strengthens the company’s presence in the Russian market, while it also produces Nucrema products.

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