Burts Snacks

Burts has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to innovation into new snacking categories

Premium snacks brand Burts has been snapped up by French own label manufacturer Europe Snacks for an undisclosed sum.

The takeover would allow the private equity-owned group, which also includes Kolak Snack Foods, to accelerate its growth in the UK snacking market, according to a statement.

Burts Snacks will continue to operate from its two manufacturing facilities in Plymouth and Leicester, with current managing director Dave McNulty retaining his position.

Europe Snacks said the deal – expected to finalise next month – would enable the group “unlock growth” through a wider offer of snacking products and “a market-leading innovation pipeline”.

Burts will also benefit from further investment in additional capacity.

“Within a highly uncertain economic context, it is key to reach a size that allows us to keep investing in our people and in our factories,” Europe Snacks CEO Etienne Lecomte said.

“Thanks to the trust of our shareholders, it has been made possible and I am very proud to welcome the Burts team to the group.”

Burts chairman Jitu Patel, who is the business’ long-time majority shareholder, added: “Burts provides high-quality snacking and has a strong track record of delivering growth without ever compromising on quality.

“Since investing in the company back in 2006, it has been a very enjoyable and impressive journey. I have a huge admiration for Europe Snacks. I am convinced this acquisition will open up new opportunities, as both businesses are complementary to each other and share deep common values.

“It has been an honour to work with the Burts Family over the years and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the combined company every success in the years ahead.”

Founded in 1995, Burts has grown rapidly in recent years, with revenues jumping from just £29.5m in the year ended 31 December 2017 to £68m in 2021.

It rebranded from Burts Potato Chips in 2019 following the December 2017 acquisition of popcorn maker Savoury & Sweet to reflect its wider product portfolio.

France’s Europe Snacks first entered the UK in 2016 thanks to a combination with London-headquartered co-packer Kolak, which has a long-standing relationship with the discounters. The merger created a snacking group with combined revenues of more than £200m.

It also has a significant presence in Spain following the acquisition of Grupo Ibersnacks in 2018.

The group has been owned by PE firm Apax since a 2013 buyout from IK Investment Partners.

Apax partner Bruno Candelier said: “Since our initial investment in Europe Snacks, we have continuously supported the company and its management team to position itself at the forefront of innovation and scale its business, notably in the UK with the transformational acquisition of Kolak in 2016.

“The acquisition of Burts is fully in line with the roadmap set when we originally invested.”

Investment bank Houlihan Lokey advised Burts on the sale.

James Scallan, managing director in Houlihan’s consumer, food and retail group, said: “Sector consolidation in UK snacking continues to be driven by strong interest from both domestic and international corporate acquirers.”