Home / Companies / News /  JM Financial PE invests 35 cr in NIC brand ice cream maker Walko Food

Mumbai: JM Financial Private Equity on Wednesday said it has finalized an investment of 35 crore in Pune-based consumer packaged food company, Walko Food Company Pvt. Ltd, to fund the company’s current expansion plans.

Proceeds from the investment will support brand building activities and augment existing capacities of the company. This marks the closing of the eighth investment by JM Financial India Fund II.

Walko Food Company owns fast growing natural ice cream brand NIC. The company operates a manufacturing plant in Pune and retails in over 50 cities across India, via multiple sales channels like food delivery platforms, Modern Trade, Parlors. The ice cream flavours range from fruit, dry fruit variants to international tastes like sea salted caramel, Madagascar chocolate, French Vanilla and the ones inspired by Indian sweetmeats like gulabJamun, sheer khurma, til gud, gajar halwa to name a few. The company has also recently launched desi kulfi brand GRAMEEN.

The company was founded by Jeetendra Bhandari, a first generation entrepreneur with decades of professional experience in the US with leading MNCs like Coca-Cola and Walmart.

“ infusion and partnership with a seasoned investor like JM Financial Private Equity will help us accelerate our current expansion plans and expand market share. NIC has emerged as a fast growing natural ice cream brand in the country during FY20-21 and is rapidly scaling up. Walko is focused on building brands which deliver on quality, innovation and superior customer experience," said Bhandari, managing director of Walko.

Walko plans to deploy funds to increase geographic penetration, open flagship parlors, manufacturing capacity expansion and marketing, he added.

“The domestic ice cream market is large and growing and we believe that there is a long runway of growth banking on low per capita ice cream consumption, foodtech platforms and development of multiple distribution channels and formats. Within the broader ice cream market, NIC has established a good product market fit with its differentiated, high quality natural ice cream and direct to consumer strategy. All these factors have led to a strong brand recall for NIC and a healthy customer repeat ratio. NIC is well-placed to address the changing customer preferences for relatively healthier, preservative free snacking options. The fund infusion will help the company scale-up its business and expand its market share," said Darius Pandole, Managing Director & CEO, PE & Equity AIFs, JM Financial.

Dexter Capital Advisors was the investment bank for this deal.

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