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01/11/2022

Regal acquires Kisko in a cool deal that includes iconic Mr. Freeze brand

Michelle Warren
Editor, Convenience Store News Canada
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Kisko products Mr Freeze
Supplied: Regal

Regal Confections, which manufactures and distributes global candy and chocolate confectionery across Canada, has acquired Kisko Products, maker of freeze pop products Mr. Freeze, Kisko and Mrs. J’s Natural, as well as licensed brands including Welch’s, Mott’s
and Crush.

Kisko was founded in Jamaica in 1968 by Leslie and Glenor Josephs founded Kisko in Jamaica in 1968 and moved the company to Canada when the family moved her in nearly 45 years ago. Regal was founded in Montreal in 1962, primarily an importer of European confectionery, but grew by adding packaging, marketing and product development divisions.

The Kisko acquisition compliments Regal's confection offering. 

Today, Kisko, which is led by the second generation of the Josephs family - Mark, Randy and Peter - operates out of a 115,000-sq.-ft. facility in Woodbridge, Ont., which houses the company’s office, production and warehouse operations.

Kisko has a diverse freeze pop offering and continues to strengthen its portfolio of organic and better-for-you products, such as sugar-free and 100% juice freeze pops. The company is also elevating its co-manufacturing capabilities, and pursuing growth in its two primary regions – Canada and the U.S.

“We are incredibly proud of the impact our company has had for over four decades, from
creating fun and life-long memories for consumers to giving back to local communities. We are
excited to partner with Regal to uphold our values and foster growth for our brand partners and
customers, relying on Regal’s 60 years of experience representing prestigious brands,
manufacturing capabilities through their Chocolat Jean Talon division, and seasonal expertise.”
says Mark Josephs, president of Kisko Products.

“Kisko and the Josephs family embody the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit. It is with respect,
admiration and excitement that we come together," says Hani Basile, president and CEO of Regal. "With Kisko, we balance out our important seasonal portfolio and we do so by joining forces with a family having strong values and a company that has mastered the art of brand building and product licensing. With Kisko, Regal will elevate its presence in the Spring & Summer season and strengthen its volumes and capabilities in the U.S. I am pleased to partner with Mark, Randy and Peter, who will continue to lead the operations of Kisko to new heights.” 

The transaction was supported by Clearspring Capital Partners, a Canadian private equity firm focused on growing mid-market companies, and Regal’s other shareholders and banking partners. “This transaction is aligned with Clearspring’s strategy of helping market leaders become even more successful. There is tremendous fit between Regal and Kisko, including shared values, similar business models, counter-seasonality, and complementary product offerings that bring joy to millions across North America. Kisko’s penetration within the freeze pops industry is impressive and we look forward to providing capital and strategic support to expand the company’s presence in existing and new markets." says Milap Choksey, principal at Clearspring.

Regal Confections (known industry-wide as “Your Candy Experts”) manufactures peanut-free and nut-free chocolate products in Quebec under the Chocolat Jean-Talon brand as well as under private label and licensed brands in Canada and the U.S. Regal distributes fine imported and domestic gourmet foods through its Euro-Excellence division.

This fall, the company announced it was acquiring Tosuta International, an importer and distributor of gummies, sours, hard and soft candies, throat lozenges and chocolate.  

During peak periods, Regal employs more than 300 people across seven locations. Regal sells through all major distribution channels in Canada and has a strong presence in convenience and gas.