Corporate News

LDC exits Seabrook Crisps in trade sale to Calbee UK

Mid-market private equity investor LDC has completed the sale of Seabrook, the iconic Yorkshire crisp brand, to leading snack brand Calbee (UK) Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

LDC backed the management buyout of the business in July 2015 to support its growth. Over the past three years, Seabrook has continued to invest in its manufacturing infrastructure, launch a number of new products and expand internationally.

The deal sees Seabrook join Calbee UK, a subsidiary of global snack company, Calbee Inc, which already boasts Yushoi, Rustiks and Harvest Snaps among its portfolio. It will see Seabrook operate as a standalone company, with Jonathan Bye, Daniel Woodwards and Jon Wood continuing in their current roles.

Seabrook produces a range of crinkle cut, straight cut and lattice crisps, as well as low-calorie snacks, from its headquarters in Bradford.

Today it produces more than 250 million bags of crisps a year, which are enjoyed by consumers worldwide having successfully entered new markets including the United Arab Emirates, China, France, Spain and Australia.

The business employs 160 people at its Yorkshire HQ and for the financial year ending March 2018 recorded revenues of £29.8m and profit (EBITDA) of £5m, up 9 per cent and 28 per cent respectively during LDC’s tenure.

Jonathan Bye, Chief Executive of Seabrook, said: “On behalf of the management team and everyone at Seabrook, I’d like to thank LDC for its commitment and support. Since LDC invested in our business in July 2015 the team has gone above and beyond, partnering with us to invest in our facilities and prime the business for future growth.

“The team invested more than £5m into our site in Bradford and we now have excellent operational facilities that allow us to continue to produce great crisps. It’s only with their support that we have been able to outperform the crisp category with the Seabrook brand, won significant new private-label business and expanded overseas.”

The transaction was led by investment director Simon Braham and senior director Ged Gould at LDC in Manchester.

Ged Gould added: “In the three years we’ve backed Seabrook, the business has invested heavily in its manufacturing facilities and successfully entered new international markets. Seabrook is an iconic Northern brand and the team has capitalised on the increased demand for ‘made in the UK’ products, successfully taking their crisps to new fans worldwide.

“Jonathan and his team are hugely ambitious and becoming part of the Calbee UK family creates a number of new growth opportunities for Seabrook moving forward. We wish the team every success on the next phase of their journey.”

The deal marks the third transaction this year for LDC’s North West team. It follows the £25m investment in Love Energy Savings, a leading energy price comparison specialist, and Eque2’s acquisition of JNC Construction Software.

LDC was advised by Houlihan Lokey (Shaun Browne and James Scallan) and Addleshaw Goddard (Paul Medlicott).

Article Footnotes

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
  2. LDC back ambitious management teams from UK-based companies seeking between £2m and £100m of equity for management buy-outs, institutional buy-outs or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network of 9 offices.