UCC Holdings, a multinational family-owned coffee company based in Japan, has inked an agreement to buy United Coffee, a European independent coffee group, from private equity fund CapVest Equity Partners.

CapVest partner Christopher Campbell said the transaction marks the culmination of their strategy to create a unique coffee platform in Europe by consolidating the market in a number of key countries.

The move is expected to create one of the top five largest independent coffee firms in the world.

UCC, which has a turnover of EUR2.5bn and employs 3,700 people, sources its coffee from its estates in Jamaica, Hawaii, and seven manufacturing facilities in Japan.

The company supplies to companies in retail, out-of-home and industrial markets in Japan and operates retail and out-of-home brands.

United Coffee will continue to operate under its current name across all of its primary markets.

UCC chief executive officer Gota Ueshima said with the sale of their gift company, Shaddy, last month the company has refocused on the long-term strategy of developing a global coffee business.

"I am very excited that we have been able to acquire one of the greatest coffee companies in Europe and, together with United Coffee, we can create a truly international market- leading coffee group," Ueshima said.

United Coffee CEO Per Harkjaer said the company represents true coffee know-how and share similar values – believing in the importance of close relationships and the need to understand and focus on the local customer.

"I am sure that our new owner will help us to focus on new product development and will enhance our position as the preferred partner for a large number of European customers," Harkjaer said.

In early 2012, United Coffee has unveiled a coffee capsule system for its out-of-home consumers.

United Coffee’s business includes coffee machines, branded and private label coffee products, and its out-of-home product variants consists of brands such as Grand Café, Templo and Smit & Dorlas.

The European coffee company has operations in the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, France and Scandinavia.

CapVest, a London-based European mid-market private equity firm, has acquired United Coffee, previously named as Drie Mollen, in 2008.

The transaction is expected to complete during the second quarter of 2012.