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LDC backs Hill Biscuits MBO

UK private equity investor LDC has backed the management buyout of Hill Biscuits.

Following the transaction, the 150-year-old business plans to kick-start a multi-million-pound capital investment programme to expand its production capacity and develop new products in order to take advantage of rising demand from current and new customers.
 
Manchester-based Hill, which has annual sales of GBP20 million, will be seeking strategic acquisitions to build further scale and diversity, as well as implementing a new international sales strategy to accelerate growth in overseas markets.
 
Originally founded as a small shop in Dukinfield, Manchester by John and Sarah Hill in 1855, the company is now one of the UK’s leading biscuit manufacturers, producing over 30 million biscuits each week for the retail and foodservice markets. Key products include digestives, ginger nuts, custard creams, bourbons, malted milks and gingerbread men.
 
The buyout was led by managing director Steven Wetherby, whilst LDC’s investment was led by Simon Braham, John Clarke and Ged Gould. The investment provides an exit for the Bennett family, which originally bought the business out of Rowntree in 1980. 
 
Wetherby says: “Partnering with LDC will enable us to drive significant investment into the business for the benefit of our customers, adding greater production capacity and innovative new ranges, whilst staying focused on our core offering of quality, value for money products.
 
“LDC's experience and track record in the sector made them an ideal fit for us. They also quickly understood our ambition for the business and shared our passion for growth. This unlocks a whole new future for a business with a fantastic history.”
 
Simon Braham, investment director at LDC, says: “Hill is a classic example of a business with latent potential. The shareholders have built a great business over the years and the current management team has an ambitious vision for forward growth. We're excited to become part of the next chapter for Hill in developing its scale, strength and success both at home and overseas.”
 
The deal marks the third transaction this year for LDC’s North West team, following the GBP38 million management buyout of Fishawack, a provider of scientific communications service, and its multi-million-pound investment in ChargePoint Technology, a manufacturer of specialist high containment and sterile transfer valves, both in January.
 
Over the past three years the firm has invested more than GBP250 million and completed 14 new transactions out of the Manchester office alone.
 
Banking facilities were provided by Yorkshire Bank and banking legal advice provided by Addleshaw Goddard.
 
The vendors were advised by Zeus and DWF, management by Pannone and LDC by Mazars and Pinsent Masons.

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