PE house LDC has backed a secondary buyout at savoury pastry supplier Addo Food Group, providing an exit for Vision Capital.
Details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but the deal – revealed exclusively by The Grocer last week – is understood to value Addo at upwards of £100m.
Nottingham-headquartered Addo, formerly known as Pork Farms, produces more than 287 million packs of branded and private label chilled savoury pastry products every year, including sausage rolls, pork pies, scotch eggs and quiches.
LDC said it had backed Addo’s growth strategy, which includes further investment in product innovation, expansion into new markets through organic growth and potential acquisitions.
The business will continue to be led by its existing management team, headed up by MD Chris Peters. Industry stalwart Paul Monk – currently chairman at LDC-backed Seabrook Crisps – also joins Addo as non-executive chairman.
“We are very excited about our partnership with LDC, to help us further unlock the potential we see in the market,” Peters said.
“LDC has really bought into our vision and plan, and the whole Addo management team is looking forward to working with our customers, our employees and our investment partners to deliver the next exciting phase of our growth story over the coming months and years.”
The sale process at Addo has been ongoing since as early as summer 2016, as a host of PE houses, including CapVest and Sun European Partners, weighed up an acquisition before walking away.
The buyout was led by LDC head of new business Andy Grove, alongside head of East Midlands John Green and investment director Victoria Marcer, with Grove and Marcer joining the Addo board as non-executive directors.
Grove added: “The UK’s chilled savoury pastry market continues to grow at a steady pace, driven largely by consumer loyalty to much-loved brands and indulgent products. Over its long trading history, Addo has continually demonstrated its ability to evolve and adapt, maintaining its market leading position through a clear focus on product innovation and high-quality product ranges.”
Addo’s brands include Tottle and Pork Farms pork pies, Walls sausage rolls and the recently launched ‘Too Good to Be’ range of gluten-free sweet and savoury pastry products.
With a trading history that dates back more than 160 years, Addo employs more than 2,500 staff across six UK sites in Nottingham, Market Drayton, Spalding, Poole and Shaftesbury.
The business has doubled in size since being acquired by Vision Capital from Northern Foods in 2007 thanks to organic growth and the 2014 takeover of the Kerry Foods £100m chilled savoury pastry operations. Revenues stood at £236.4m, with EBITDA of £16m, in the year 26 March 2016.
Oliver Jones at Vision Capital said: “With Addo doubling in size since our acquisition, Vision Capital is proud of the business we have built in a highly collaborative relationship with Chris and his team. We wish Addo and its new investors continued success.”
Private fund Fullbrook Thorpe Investments, backed by Andy Leaver (former majority owner of Midlands-based listed pharmaceutical firm Clinigen Group), invested alongside LDC.
Catalyst Corporate Finance acted as lead advisor to LDC and management, working on all aspects of the transaction, including overall deal structuring, project management, exit planning and raising debt and working capital facilities. Head of consumer Simon Peacock and Catalyst partner Justin Crowther were lead advisers.
Peacock said: “Addo is a market-leading food business with a strong position in the UK’s chilled savoury pastry market and a loyal consumer following for its well-known brands. The business has consistently outperformed over its long trading history, producing high-quality foods and an extensive range of products. We are delighted to have advised LDC and management on this fantastic business, which has a very strong platform for future growth.”
Eversheds in Nottingham provided legal advice to LDC, with tax advice from Deloitte in Birmingham. Law firm Browne Jacobson advised Addo management. Commercial due diligence was completed by Food Strategy Associates and operational due diligence by Lauras.
Vision Capital were advised on the transaction by Houlihan Lokey, led by MD Shaun Browne. “Addo is an excellent business with a strong management team that has performed exceptionally well under Vision Capital’s ownership,” Browne said. “With its high-quality products, great customer relationships and pipeline of NPD, it has strong momentum and is well positioned for further growth under LDC’s ownership.”
KPMG and Macfarlanes also advised Vision.
Addo has been supported with new debt facilities provided by Guggenheim, with existing working capital facilities rolled forward by PNC.
The deal with Addo represents LDC’s eighth investment of 2017, including the MBO at Hill Biscuits. Current investments in the food and drink sector by LDC include Seabrook Crisps, Vital Ingredients and Hill Biscuits. It exited Ministry of Cake in January with a sale to Mademoiselle Desserts. Its biggest success in the sector to date came from the £154m flotation of posh mixer brand Fever-Tree in November 2014 after a £48m investment in early 2013.