BIRMINGHAM, OHIO – In an effort to strengthen its global food processing automation portfolio, Bettcher Industries announced the acquisition of Frontmatec, a subsidiary of Kolding, Denmark-based Axcel, which specializes in automated and robotic pork and beef primary processing technology. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

Frontmatec serves more than 1,500 customers in the red meat processing sector worldwide and employs more than 1,300 workers.

Bettcher, which was acquired by the private equity firm KKR in 2021, said the addition of Frontmatec will bolster the company’s presence in European markets and continue to develop its strategy to serve the processing industry with fully automated solutions. As part of the acquisition, Allan Ristensen, Frontmatec’s chief executive officer, is expected to continue leading its executive team after the deal is finalized.

“Frontmatec has built a leading brand and position by enabling customers to continuously improve the productivity and safety of their workforce,” said Tim Swanson, chief executive officer of Bettcher. “The Company’s capabilities in automation and its global presence make it a superb fit for the Bettcher platform, and we are excited to work with Allan and his team to extend our collective innovation leadership.”

Bettcher said it plans to add other food-processing capabilities in the future and preserve the strong workplace culture and values Frontmatec is known for. KKR will include Frontmatec’s workforce in its employment benefits and ownership program, allowing them to participate in equity returns realized by KKR.

“We are thrilled to welcome Frontmatec and its automated food processing capabilities into the Bettcher and KKR family and thank Axcel for creating an industry leader in automated protein processing,” said Josh Weisenbeck and Brandon Brahm, partners in KKR’s Industrials investment team. “Importantly, we look forward to incorporating Frontmatec and making all employees owners in the combined business as the latest example of our participation in the shared ownership movement.”