Whitworths snack-food manufacturer up for sale

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 | BUSINESS SALE

Whitworths, one of the UK’s biggest snack-food manufacturers, is being put up for sale by private equity firm, European Capital, with a £100m price tag.

According to the Sunday Times, European Capital has tasked food and drink investment advisers, Stamford Partners, to locate possible buyers for the Northamptonshire-based firm.

Whitworths began as a mill 126 years ago and for many years simply provided flour to local bakers. In 1932, the company expanded production to supply the wheat for a popular new breakfast cereal called Weetabix. The company continued steady growth, acquiring mills and bakeries and its own fleet of lorries. A merger and a management buyout followed, with the business moving from strength to strength and rapidly increasing its export markets.

The firm now employs approximately 350 people manufacturing a range of fruit and nut mixes and other natural and healthy ingredients.

Sales for the year ended 30th April 2012 were a robust £145m, up from £119m a year earlier, though pre-tax profits were somewhat lower at £5.6m, down from £7.4m.

A £100m sale of the business would represent a modest return for European Capital on its initial investment of £85m, the price paid in 2006 to the-then owners Gresham Partners.

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