Kicking Horse Coffee promises to stay true to its Kootenay roots following the announcement of a major shift in ownership.

Kicking Horse Coffee assures that with the sale of 80 per cent ownership to an Italian company, the company will not change its focus or its brand, but will continue to be a locally based company.

Theres no merger of the companies. Kicking Horse will continue to exist as an independent brand, but now its going to have this global partner / owner, explained David Gordon, communications representative for Kicking Horse Coffee.

He said the partnership will provide the momentum and expertise to help Kicking Horse expand and continue its growth.

The Lavazza Group, an Italian coffee company, now owns an 80 per cent interest in Kicking Horse Coffee.

The acquisition, announced Wednesday, May 24th, is valued at $215 million. Elana Rosenfeld, the co-founder of Kicking Horse Coffee, retains a 20 per cent equity stake and will continue as the companys chief executive officer.

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, commented Rosenfeld. I am thrilled and honored we now share this beautiful adventure with the Lavazza Group.

Mr. Gordon expanded on Ms. Rosenfelds comments, explaining Lavazza and Kicking Horse are perfect partners because they share similar principles and values.

Thats an important part of the decision process respectful integration of those values, and for Kicking Horse, safeguarding of their brand and their people.

The Kicking Horse Coffee brand is embedded in the Columbia Valley.

Started in a garage by Ms. Rosenfeld and her partner more than 20 years ago, it grew into a firmly established and well-known brand in the whole bean and fair trade coffee industry.

The Lavazza Group was established in 1895 in Turin, Italy. It operates in more than 90 countries through subsidiaries and distributors.

Mr. Gordon reflected that Lavazzas acquisition is a testament to the Kicking Horse brand.

This is an important move for Lavazza. North America is a key market for them and for a global brand, its a testament of confidence in the strength of the Kicking Horse product and people and brand, said Mr. Gordon.

In a press release, Lavazza chief executive officer Antonio Baravalle, who will sit as the Kicking Horse Coffee chairman, said that with organic, fair-trade coffee being one of the fastest-growing trends, Kicking Horse Coffee leads it with a brand that is perfectly complementary to Lavazza.

Kicking Horse Coffee represents one of the local jewels the Lavazza Group continues to seek as part of its globalization and premium positioning strategy, Mr. Baravalle said.

In recent years, the company has constantly grown at a double-digit rate and, thanks to this acquisition, its growth and development prospects both in and outside of Canada will increase significantly, he said.

The Lavazza Group bought the 80 per cent ownership from the private-equity fund Swander Pace Capital, who had originally acquired the investment in 2012 in partnership with Jefferson Capital and United Natural Foods.