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Muckle advises on sweet deal for award winning biscuit manufacturer

13th Jul 2018 | Corporate Finance

We have advised on the sale of Northumbrian Fine Foods to Biscuit International, one of Europe’s leading players in the private label sweet biscuit market, from CriSeren Foods Ltd.

Created in 1936, Gateshead based Northumbrian Fine Foods has experienced strong growth in recent years and is now the UK’s largest gluten and milk-free sweet biscuit manufacturer, with an annual turnover exceeding £27m in 2017. As well as supplying supermarket own-label biscuits, Northumbrian Fine Foods also owns the Prewett’s brand.

Biscuit International expects to leverage on Northumbrian Fine Foods award-winning range of products, innovation and production capabilities as well as its experienced management team, to seize growth opportunities on the free-from biscuit market.

Existing management sustained

The acquisition will allow Biscuit International to propose a wider offering to its European clients, while significantly reinforcing its presence in the UK. It will therefore enable Northumbrian Fine Foods to address new markets throughout Europe for gluten and milk-free biscuits, while at the same time offering Biscuit International the opportunity to benefit from the business’s close working relationship with multiple UK retailers and brands.

Senior management at Northumbrian Fine Foods remain unchanged, with Biscuit International benefiting from the team’s experience to help drive growth in the European market. Northumbrian Fine Foods Senior management decided to invest in Biscuit International equity alongside the other Biscuit International senior managers.

From Gateshead to global

Giampaolo Schiratti, Biscuit International CEO, said: “The European free-from market is very dynamic and represents a real opportunity for growth. Northumbrian Fine Food’s expertise in gluten and milk-free biscuit production was a major attraction to us and the business provides an excellent fit into our portfolio of companies.

“We aim to further develop the business through innovation and creating exciting new products for the UK and European markets, and we anticipate this acquisition will lead our group to become Europe’s largest producer of gluten and milk-free sweet private label biscuits and strengthening the partnership with our customers, whether they are retailers or industrials. This ambitious move will contribute to offer an ever more diversified and qualitative product portfolio to our European customers and their consumers.”

A taste for future success

Stewart McLelland, Managing Director of Northumbrian Fine Foods, said: “This acquisition by Biscuit International is great news and provides the platform for us to expand into Europe where we see significant opportunities for developing the gluten-free biscuit sector. Biscuit International are a forward-thinking business and their plans for Northumbrian Fine Foods will further enhance our position as the UK’s number one gluten and milk-free biscuit manufacturer.

“We are very proud of our achievements here at Northumbrian Fine Foods and through the hard work of all our staff we have created a sustainable and secure business with a great future.

‘Part of our team’

"We were also very impressed with the legal support we received from our lawyers at Muckle. Their knowledge and expertise, ability to support various parties’ interests in particular the management team, quick responses and calm approach when timescales were tight, certainly were instrumental and essential to achieving a successful completion. They acted as part of our team and a professional approach with hard work got us over the line.”

Corporate partner Philip Clare led the advice to the shareholders of Northumbrian Fine Foods, with support from associate Adam Rayner and solicitors Claire Willcock and Harry Hobson in our Corporate team.

Philip said: “This is a truly transformational deal for Northumbrian Fine Foods. Stewart and the team have worked incredibly hard to build a market-leading business and we are delighted to have supported them in achieving the next stage of their growth.”

To find out how we can help your business grow, call Philip Clare on 0191 211 7971 or email [email protected].

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