Katharina and Jean-Claude Eggel
Katharina and her husband, Jean-Claude Eggel, started a shop in Gothenburg which initially sold fine imported chocolate. This was in the year 2000, and shortly afterward, the movie "Chocolat" directed by Lasse Hallström was released, sparking a significant interest in dark chocolate in Sweden. Over time, their business evolved into a more specialized wholesale operation, where imported products were sold to other stores. Gradually, they developed their own brand, La Praline, initially with outsourcing production but later producing their own truffles in their own facilities, first in Ringön, Gothenburg, and since 2019 in Viared, Borås.
The couple has complemented each other well, with each bringing different skills and strengths to the business. Katharina has handled finances and administration, always ensuring that the finances were in good shape to realize Jean-Claude's ideas for expansion and development.
"Having one person who puts on the brakes and another who hits the gas has been successful for us. We've been a good team, skilled in different areas, proficient in languages and working with different cultures, traveling, and connecting with companies in various countries who found it exciting to collaborate with a small family business in Sweden. Being an entrepreneur, with all the hard work and long hours it entails, is a lifestyle. You need to work a lot, constantly want to learn new things, and be determined", says Katharina Eggel.
Being an entrepreneur with all its demands of hard work and long hours was something the couple had decided would be phased out well in advance. They never planned to work in the company for their entire lives. A generational shift wasn't on the horizon as their children didn't want to take over the business.
"The time was right to find new owners. We're not getting any younger, and we didn't want to burden our children with the company. Instead, we wanted to sell the business and have more time for ourselves, not work ourselves to exhaustion and then collapse one day", continues Katharina Eggel.
Through their network, their existing auditor, and online research, they came across several financial advisors, and they chose AHL Partners. For the Eggels, it was crucial to have a financial advisor who was on their side and showed genuine interest in their company and operations.
"We knew we wanted a financial advisor because we didn't know how to sell a company ourselves. We got a very positive impression of AHL right from the start. They were well-prepared, had done research, and showed a great deal of interest in us. They presented relevant transactions they had completed previously. We felt a sense of security and that AHL knew what they were talking about", says Katharina Eggel.
The transaction was completed in 2022, with Humble Group acquiring the company to strengthen its position in the food and snacks segment.
"We are very satisfied with how AHL has been active in and carried out the entire process of finding the right owner for La Praline. We've felt that AHL is on our side as sellers, taking the time needed and having the patience to address and answer all the questions that were important to us", says Katharina Eggel.
For others considering selling their company, Katharina advises creating order and clarity in the business and financials well in advance. Buyers typically request a lot of information, and having it readily available can be very helpful.
"Have reasonable expectations about the outcome of a sale and consider whether you want to stay in the business", concludes Katharina Eggel.