The Lavazza Group, Turin, Italy, announced the purchase of an equity stake in Kicking Horse Coffee Ltd. from the private-equity fund Swander Pace Capital, which originally acquired the investment in 2012 in partnership with Jefferson Capital and United Natural Foods. Kicking Horse Coffee, a Canadian organic and Fair-Trade coffee player, has experienced remarkable growth in Canada and the United States, the company says.

With this transaction, Lavazza secures an 80 percent interest in the company, which was valued at 215 million Canadian dollars. Elana Rosenfeld, who founded Kicking Horse Coffee in 1996, will retain a 20 percent equity stake and will continue as chief executive officer.

“Kicking Horse Coffee represents one of the ‘local jewels’ the Lavazza Group continues to seek as part of its globalization and premium positioning strategy,” said Antonio Baravalle, chief executive officer of the Lavazza Group and future Kicking Horse Coffee chairman, in a statement. “Today, organic, Fair-Trade coffee is one of the fastest-growing trends at the international level, and in North America in particular. Kicking Horse Coffee leads this segment with a brand that is perfectly complementary to the Lavazza portfolio.”

This transaction represents an important step for the development of the strategy in North America, the company says. Lavazza’s objective is to further increase the brand equity of Kicking Horse Coffee while sharing key respective competencies and values.

“Kicking Horse Coffee has always distinguished itself for its unrelenting commitment to quality coffee, along with strong sustainability values. The Lavazza Group shares this vision, and we now have the perfect partner to assist us in growing and connecting the world with our coffee,” Rosenfeld said. “I am thrilled and honored we now share this beautiful adventure with the Lavazza Group.” BI