Kylie Hone of the Darell Lea Park Beach Plaza shows the store is still very much open.
Kylie Hone of the Darell Lea Park Beach Plaza shows the store is still very much open. ROB WRIGHT

Darrell Lea’s $200 million treat

A PRIVATE equity company has bought a majority stake in 90-year-old Australian confectionery maker Darrell Lea.

The maker of favourites such as Rocklea Road and licorice has bounced back following its voluntary administration more than five years ago following a major restructure.

Quadrant Private Equity has bought the stake from the Quinn family, which owned the Queensland-based VIP Petfoods, for a reported $200 million.

"Darrell Lea has been around since 1927 so it really is an iconic Australian brand with a huge amount of heritage and good will from consumers," chairman Chris Hadley told News Corp Australia.

Earnings nearly doubled to $23 million in the last financial year and annual sales exceeded $110 million.

Mr Hadley said his firm planned to continue the growth of Darrell Lea, including expanded manufacturing capacity.

He said the company already enjoyed "an extremely strong position in the licorice market'' and had a very strong presence in the US, UK and New Zealand.



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