The Black Sea Fund I investment fund acquires 70% of D-Toys  

The Black Sea Fund I investment fund acquires 70% of D-Toys
Alex Bute, future CEO D-Toys

Black Sea Fund I, an investment fund dedicated to accelerating small and medium enterprises in Romania with a capital of over 43 million euros, announces the acquisition of a 70% stake in D-Toys, the biggest local manufacturer of puzzles and children's games. The value of the transaction is confidential.

The takeover of the majority package involves the extension of the management team who will ensure the succession planning of the company.

D-Toys is a company founded by Tibor Fustos in 2001, that last year had revenues of four million euros, being the largest independent producer of puzzles and educational games in Romania.

"We are very proud of the efforts of the entire team that transformed us into the leading local manufacturer of puzzles and children's games. This transaction with Black Sea Fund will allow us to rapidly grow the company and the product range, improve the innovation process and massively increase the notoriety of our products in Romania, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The arrival of Alex Bute and the new management team, their in-depth international experience and their enthusiasm to join our business, make them an ideal partner to build on the existing foundation”, said Tibor Fustos, the founder of D-Toys.

The company produces educational games, board games and puzzles dedicated to children between 3 and 14 years, among the most famous brands in the portfolio being Jocul Autostrăzilor, Animale din România, Alias, Capitalism Original, Șapte dintr-o lovitură, Bătălie Navală, Dacii și Romanii.

"It is an honor to follow Tibor, who has had an impressive career, building from scratch both D-Toys and the team of the company. I am proud and excited to be the next CEO of D-Toys. This is an interesting time in the market. Our customers are less interested in the cheap imports from China and started to look for entertainment, quality and innovation. We are ideally positioned to serve them in Europe and beyond, being one of the few integrated producers in the EU. I am also excited to build an even stronger culture to serve our customers by expanding our current workforce by over 40% in the coming years", said Alex Bute, the future CEO.

D-Toys has a modern factory with 90 employees in Sfântu Gheorghe, but the company is also present in the distribution segment in Romania, Germany and France.

Arin Ion, the partner of Black Sea Fund I Cooperative UA, added: "Tibor had an extraordinary career as the founder of D-Toys, contributing together with his team to the company's success for over 20 years. During this time, D-Toys became the largest local producer of puzzles and games, the company has tripled its revenues, expanded its presence nationally and regionally and significantly expanded its product portfolio. We are thrilled that Alex Bute has joined forces to lead a new management team and a great business both nationally and internationally."

The new management aims to focus in the coming years on increasing online sales, developing in markets such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and increasing production and creative capacity to meet the needs of the public in the targeted international markets.

"We were very impressed with the way Tibor and his team managed to develop the company and we are sure that this partnership can be the beginning of a fantastic growth story. D-Toys is a company with a remarkable evolution, which operates in a favorable business environment and its core products are very well positioned on the local market. D-Toys is also the right platform for potential acquisition targets that we will actively monitor in the coming period. We look forward to contributing to the future development of the company and working closely with Tibor and his team", said Cornel Fumea, partner of Black Sea Fund I Cooperative UA.

Black Sea Fund I was assisted in this transaction by bpv Grigorescu Ștefănică, while D-Toys by Saxum Corporate Finance and Schoenherr & Asociații.

Black Sea Fund I is a recently launched private equity fund, which aims to implement investments in shares of at least 4 million euros to Romanian small and medium enterprises. Black Sea Fund I has secured a EUR 43 million funding commitment at its initial closing held in December 2018. The leading investor is the European Investment Fund, with resources from the Regional Operational Program co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Black Sea Fund I was founded and is managed by a Romanian team, which includes four executive partners: Matei Păun, Arin Ion, Cornel Fumea and Adrian Vasile. Each of the partners has over 15 years of experience in areas such as private equity investment and asset management, investment/procurement activities and financial management.

European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group and is a key provider of venture and private equity capital to SMEs across Europe through investments in venture capital and private equity funds, guarantees, and microfinance. In Romania, the EIF implements financial instruments funded through European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) such as JEREMIE 2007-2013, Regional Operational Programme, Competitiveness Operational Programme and the National Rural Development Programme.

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18 October 2021

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