PE Tech Report


Like this article?

Sign up to our free newsletter

Ardenton takes stake in UK food business

Ardenton Capital Corporation (Ardenton) has made its fifth investment in the UK, taking a majority equity position in Manchester-headquartered Food Innovations Baking Group (Food Innovations), a manufacturer of specialist products for the home baking and retail market. 

Founded in 2004, the business now has 250 employees across five sites and reports revenues in excess of GBP34 million. The deal incorporates the acquisition of Doric Cake Crafts, Doric Crimped, Doric FPD and Food Innovations.

The business has grown rapidly through acquisitions, as well as strategic investment in new technologies that support the delivery of innovative cake craft, decorations, cake boards and packaging products to market. 

Ardenton will work closely with the management team, made up of Bruce Murray, Group Finance Director, Simon Woodhouse, Group Operations Director and Robert Brace who is Sales & Commercial Director. The new partnership will allow the business to pursue additional complementary acquisitions and unlock further organic growth. 

The co-founders, Peter and Robert Ward, will exit the baking group business but will retain ownership of Doric Anderton.

Michael Bradbury, Director of Ardenton UK, led the deal with support from James Worrall and Jonny Nixon. He says: “Food Innovations is an impressive business which is really innovating within its sector. Over the last few years the company has delivered strong organic growth while successfully integrating complementary acquisitions and we confidently back the management team to push the business through its next phase of growth. Further investment into new product development will form a key part of the strategy. Ardenton believes that Food Innovations is the ideal partner for its first step into the UK food sector, a key strategic vertical for the business. Going forward, the team will continue to consider other attractive acquisition opportunities in this space.”

Robert Brace added: “Ardenton shared our vision for the future expansion of the group. Their company ethos and personal approach made them the ideal choice. We are confident that their wealth of experience and ambition match our own. The partnership with Ardenton will enable the company to pursue new opportunities for innovation, acquisition and growth.”

Ardenton targets majority investments in businesses alongside strong incumbent owners and management teams seeking support in delivering long-term sustainable growth for their businesses. Supporting the partnership between Ardenton and Food Innovations is Director, Strategic Development, Allan Dunn. Based in the firm’s Manchester office, Allan is ideally located to oversee the implementation of the Ardenton Operating System (“AOS”) at Food Innovations focusing on business improvement and growth.

Ardenton was advised on the deal by Pinsent Masons (Kieran Toal, Tim Fearn, James Skivington, Katie Porter, William Bayly), EY (Debt Advisory led by Chris Lowe and Danyal Khan), PwC (Tax), KPMG (financial and commercial due diligence) and Marsh & McLennan (insurance). Senior debt and working capital facilities were provided by NatWest Structured Finance led by Mike Malone and Samir Khoudi. Addleshaw Goddard advised NatWest.

EY’s corporate finance team based in Manchester, led by Mark Clephan and including Edward Gale, Stephen McGuinness and Yasmin Giovedi, advised shareholders on the deal.  Legal advice was provided by Adrian Rogers James Sheridan and David Hayes from Knights Plc.

Like this article? Sign up to our free newsletter