Endless backs MBO of major British pork supplier

Endless LLP, a UK-based investor in non-core acquisitions and special situations, has provided equity finance to the management buyout (MBO) of VION Food UK Limited, one of the largest integrated pork suppliers in the UK. Contracts were exchanged today with completion to follow subject to clearance from the Irish competition authorities.

VION Food UK will deliver turnover in excess of £500m in the year ending 31 December 2012. The company operates from nine sites across the UK and one in the Republicof Ireland. The management team is led by Chief Executive Officer, Seamus Carr.

The vendor is VION N.V., a Dutch group which is an internationally operating food and ingredients company.  The group announced in November that it had embarked on a process to sell its UK food businesses to concentrate on its core markets in the Netherlands and Germany and the development of its global ingredients business.

Endless has a successful record of backing MBOs of British businesses which have become non-core assets for their owners. These have included Crown Paints, retailer Bathstore, engineering group Davy Markham and steel processor Acenta Steel.

VION Food UK produces a high quality range of pork, bacon, sausage and cooked meats.  The company operates to industry leading welfare standards, a feature that is increasingly important for supermarkets, and has won a number of awards in this area. Many of VION’s pork businesses enjoy a distinguished heritage. Bacon specialist Case & Sons, for example, was established in 1877 and also holds the Royal Warrant; and the Cookstown brand, established in 1937, is widely recognised in Ireland and was famously advertised by footballer George Best.

Commenting on the buyout, CEO Seamus Carr said:

“VION’s decision to exit the UK market presented the management team with an outstanding opportunity to lead a buyout of a business that is industry-leading, well invested and essential to the UK food sector.  We are delighted that our partner in the buyout, Endless, immediately understood the opportunity and we look forward to working with them to take the company to its next phase of growth.”

A spokesman from Endless said:

“We are delighted to have been selected by the MBO team to support their plans and aspirations for such a strategically important business in the UK food sector, with its focus on local produce at a time when end customers demands for British-sourced food are increasing.”