Corporate News

LDC backs secondary buyout of Addo Food Group to support continued growth

LDC, the leading UK mid-market private equity investor, has backed the secondary buyout of Addo Food Group ("Addo" or "the business"), the UK's leading chilled savoury pastry producer in a transaction that marks a successful exit for Vision Capital. Details of the transaction are not disclosed.

LDC has invested to support Addo's growth strategy, which will include further investment in product innovation, expansion into new markets through organic growth and potential acquisitions in adjacent markets. Private investment fund Fullbrook Thorpe Investments LLP, which is backed by Andy Leaver (former majority owner of Clinigen Group), invested alongside LDC.

Headquartered in Nottingham, Addo produces more than 287 million packs of chilled savoury pastry products every year. The business manufactures a range of own brand and branded products including sausage rolls, hot pies, slices, pork pies, scotch egg products and quiches, which it supplies to the UK's leading names in food retail including all the major supermarkets.

Alongside its market-leading ranges of premium pastry products such as Tottle pork pies, Walls savoury pastry and Pork Farms pork pies, the business launched its 'Too Good to Be' range of gluten-free sweet and savoury pastry products last year - the first of its kind.

With a trading history that dates back more than 160 years, Addo employs more than 2500 people and operates across six UK sites in Nottingham, Market Drayton, Spalding, Poole and Shaftesbury. The business was acquired by Vision Capital from Northern Foods in 2007 and traded as Pork Farms Group until 2015 when it changed its name to Addo Food Group. In 2014, the company completed the acquisition of Kerry Food's £100m chilled savoury pastry operations.

Addo will continue to be led by its existing management team, headed up by Group Managing Director, Chris Peters.

The transaction was led by Andy Grove, LDC Head of New Business, alongside John Green, LDC Head of East Midlands, and Victoria Marcer, LDC Investment Director. Both Andy and Victoria will join the Addo board as non-executive directors.

Paul Monk will also join Addo as non-executive chairman. He is currently non-executive chairman at Seabrook Crisps and has previous experience with Mars, Golden Wonder, Finsbury Foods, Quorn and Burton Biscuits.

Chris Peters, Group Managing Director at Addo Food Group, said: "We are very excited about our partnership with LDC, to help us further unlock the potential we see in the market.

"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."

Andy Grove, Head of New Business, LDC said: "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.

"In Addo, we're backing a management team with strength in-depth, led by Chris Peters. We look forward to working alongside them to support the business' next phase of growth and expansion."

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."

The transaction was completed with support from a number of regional advisors including Nottingham-based Catalyst Corporate Finance who acted as lead advisor. Eversheds in Nottingham acted as legal advisor to LDC, while Deloitte in Birmingham provided tax advice. Browne Jacobson in Nottingham acted as legal advisors to 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, KPMG and Macfarlanes.

The business 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 8th investment of 2017 and forms part of LDC's on-going strategy to invest in leading mid-market businesses, backing high calibre management teams.

LDC has a strong track record of backing businesses in the food and drink sector, with current investments including Seabrook Crisps and Vital Ingredients. LDC has pledged to invest £1.2billion of equity into Britain's mid-market businesses over the next three years.