Industry 4.0 Fund
Maria Pompilio
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The Quadrivio Group private equity fund buys 65% of SKA ‒ a leader in the design and manufacture of free-range poultry farming systems

Industry 4.0 Fund has opted for an LBO operation to acquire a majority stake in Gruppo SKA. This means the Quadrivio Group private equity vehicle ‒ which invests in technological innovation and digital transition for SMEs ‒ is now making its sixth investment, taking it to have already invested 70% of the capital it manages in just three years.

Founded in 1954 in Sandrigo, in the Italian province of Vicenza, today SKA is a leading enterprise specialised in designing and making poultry farm systems: the company product range goes from equipment through to houses for free-range poultry farming. It also holds control of Meneghin S.r.l., a limited company specialised in manufacturing equipment for use at rabbit farms. The group meets and exceeds the highest quality standards and is already positioned as a technological partner for the main Italian and international poultry businesses, particularly those active in the organic and eco-friendly segments.

The enterpriser Dino Pozzato will reinvest in the company, with a 35% share, supporting the fund in the joint expansion and development strategy , ever more oriented to strengthening the industry 4.0 approach and fostering constructive management growth. Gruppo SKA can already rely on the best industry 4.0 technologies: for instance, it possesses vertical storage bays and automated production processes for cutting and welding components. The company intends to invest further resources in technological innovation, to contribute to creating 4.0 systems for building eco-friendly poultry farms capable of satisfying and best responding to the increase in demand for white meats on the Italian market as well as in Eastern European and Asian countries.

Both SKA and Meneghin manufacture and export their respective products internationally: currently over 50% of their income is generated abroad. Together they closed the 2021 financial year on a total turnover of €32 million, notching up double-figure growth on the previous year.

Pietro Paparoni, Investment Director at Quadrivio Group, commented: “This transaction takes us to set the goal of fortifying the enterprise's capacity to offer the best solutions to a key market for food security, and one that is swiftly expanding both in Western countries ‒ ever more aware regarding a healthy and balanced diet ‒ and in developing nations ‒ where the poultry sector stands as a primary step towards well-rounded nutrition. The development strategy will carry on in the direction pursued so far by the management and the Pozzato family: a stronger engineering input for free-range poultry farm facilities and greater focus on investments in digitalization and system control. An additional aim is to strengthen the management team and speed up growth. Today SKA stands as an aggregator in the sector and plans to reach a turnover of €100 million within five years.”

Roberto Crapelli, Managing Partner at Industry 4.0 Fund is also pleased with the transaction prospects: “The already exceptional Industry 4.0 Fund portfolio is now being enhanced through a sixth investment. This SKA transaction reinforces the resilience features of the portfolio. Our new arrival operates in a sector experiencing expansion worldwide and is also ESG compliant. In addition, it possesses facilities already benefitting from industry 4.0 technology. Growth will be achieved also through one-off operations that are already underway and by bolstering the business network present in all geographical areas.”

For Dino Pozzato, Chairman of SKA: “A decade of significant growth for Gruppo SKA is now followed by the opportunity provided by the competences brought by Quadrivio Group ‒ and I'm personally enthusiastic about its team, and particularly its strategic and industrial vision. This is unquestionably the right move to make to usher in a new phase of development and to guarantee a future of even greater growth for SKA and Meneghin.”

Quadrivio Group was assisted in the legal aspects of the transaction by Pedersoli Studio Legale (Ascanio Cibrario, Luca Rossi Provesi and Edoardo Augusto Bononi).

The selling party received legal assistance from Studio Legance Avvocati Associati (with a team helmed by Caliò Marincola, and including Francesco Di Bari and Cristina Marani), while the transaction was completed with notary support from Studio Notarile Rinaldi-Iannacone.

The financial due diligence was conducted by E&Y, while Russo De Rosa Associati carried out the tax due diligence.

The business and market analysis was performed by The European House Ambrosetti.

Equity Factory (Stefano Marsilii and Filippo Montresor) acted as advisor to the seller and the company. Instead, Studio Baldin (Andrea Baldin) saw to the accounting matters.

Banca Intesa bank provided backing for the transaction.