Matthew Walker Plum & Port Pudding

Matthew Walker is thought to be the world’s oldest Christmas puddings maker - established in 1899

Valeo Foods has continued its string of acquisitions by agreeing to buy 2 Sisters’ Matthew Walker Christmas puddings business in a deal valued £67m.

The transaction, expected to complete in the coming weeks, will see the 1899-established leading Christmas puddings maker join Valeo’s portfolio of 68 international brands, including Rowse Honey, Balconi and Jacob’s Irish division.

The Capvest-owned Irish company has made a name for itself in recent years, by leading a string of takeovers including the buyout of struggling premium crisps maker Kettle Foods’ operations in the UK and Ireland, completed last month.

A city source told The Grocer the deal fit perfectly with Valeo’s strategy of acquiring “solid brands”.

“Matthew Walker fits very nicely with Valeo’s other baked goods businesses and with its ambient grocery play,” the source added. 

Mattew Walker, whose products are sold across all UK grocers from discounters to luxury retailers, will add around €40m in sales to Valeo, taking the group’s total annual turnover to over €1bn. 

As a part of Valeo Foods UK, Matthew Walker was ”well positioned for future growth” through new product innovation and expansion within foodservice and international markets, Valeo said.  

Valeo managing director Ian Ainsworth said: “The strength of Matthew Walker’s market leadership combined with the strong consumer demand for its high-quality products make the business and its brands a great addition to our existing Valeo UK growth platform, to sit alongside our wider portfolio of products including our very successful Rowse Honey brand.

“We look forward to welcoming and working with our new colleagues in Matthew Walker as we pursue our ambitious growth plans for the business.” 

The disposal was also in line with 2 Sisters’ strategy to “transform its business” by focusing on its strengths, said Ranjit Singh, president of 2 Sisters’ parent company Boparan Holdings.

He added: “It [the deal] strengthens our balance sheet even further and shows we are following through with our promises by focusing on our key strengths.”

Boparan CEO Ronald Kers added: “This sale is further good news as we continue at pace with our turnaround plan. We remain very much on track to meet our strategic aims of focusing on our core businesses and improving our operational performance.”

As part of its ongonig turnaround efforts, 2 Sisters has pledged to sell-off non-core assets and refocus the busines on its core poultry operations. 

Earlier this year, the business divested its Manton Wood sandwich business and its Green Isle and Donegal Catch frozen food businesses