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Greencore Acquires Freshtime UK

salad splashing into surface water on a table

Greencore Group has announced that they have recently purchased Freshtime UK. The company is a well-established food-to-go salad supplier, and also manufactures chilled snacks and pre-prepared produce.

Inclusion in the Group

It certainly seems as though Freshtime UK is a good fit for the Greencore Group. It ticks many of their boxes, by extending their presence in areas where they already have a foothold. This includes chilled snacks as well as their food-to-go salads.

Greencore also pointed out that the strong customer base Freshtime UK has cultivated over the years will be welcome in their existing portfolio. It made the brand a very saleable prospect, with a well-invested facility that has capacity for further growth in the future.

Freshtime UK was, until now, a privately owned business operating from just one facility. Located in Boston, Lincolnshire, it employs 350 staff, all of whom are set to be secure in their positions. Those who are interested in joining them can keep an eye on our job listings. With investments of more than £14 million in the factory since 2000, the previous owners worked hard to develop and grow the business. 

Greencore also pointed out the established local supply chain and the fact that they were already distributing a large proportion of the company’s products, through the Direct to Store network. This was the next logical step for them. 

Strategic Partnership

“Freshtime is an excellent strategic fit for Greencore,” said Patrick Coveney, Chief Executive at Greencore. “​It is a business and a customer set that we know very well and it provides us with an exciting opportunity to enhance our product offering, add further capacity to our manufacturing network, and help drive growth and value for shareholders. We look forward very much to welcoming the Freshtime team to Greencore.”

The deal was funded from existing debt facilities. The group said that this would leave them with moderate debt levels, and they would be able to start delivering a modest profit from the start of the 2020 financial year.

The outlook is good: Freshtime generated revenues of £66 million in 2018. This gave a pre-tax profit of £5.6 million. While it is modest compared to a company the size of Greencore, there is plenty of room for development, and a more established presence will certainly be able to drive expansion faster. If, like them, you are an employer looking to expand, you can get help finding the right talent.

The parent company of Freshtime UK, The Bay Group, had previously issued share capital. This was purchased in full from John Curran Mills Richmond as part of the deal. 

Greencore themselves have reported growth in both pre-tax and operating profit, according to the half-year figures which were announced in May. Group revenue did fall by 4.6% in the six months to 29 March 2019, to £701.4 million, however. This was following the sale of their US business arm, which was completed in November. Contract manufacturer Hearthside Food Solutions picked it up for $1.1 billion – the equivalent of £817 million.