Symington’s, the UK-based branded and private-label food business, has acknowledged the investor-backed company is exploring options after a media report suggested it could be put up for sale.

The snacks to sauces and noodles maker counts UK investment fund Intermediate Capital Group as its majority investor.

A spokesperson for Symington’s, which is based in the northern English city of Leeds, said in a statement provided to just-food: “As a private-equity backed business, we have instructed advisors to scope the market for opportunities that will allow Symington’s to invest and grow.  

“It may be that we explore a number of different routes in achieving that goal and there’s no guarantee that we will enact upon any of the opportunities that arise. It would therefore be wrong to speculate on any outcome at this very early stage.”

David Cox, a former director at the UK firm Fox’s Biscuits, became Symington’s CEO last autumn, succeeding former Associated British Foods director John Power, who spent three years at the helm.

Symington’s is also present in the rice, pasta, soups and pulses segments, supplied to retail and foodservice channels. Its brands include Mug Shot, Naked, Ilumi, Chicken Tonight, Ragu and Twistd. Own label accounts for 48% of Symington’s business, according to the company’s latest results filing with Companies House. Some 47% of the group’s sales come through its brands, with the remainder from business-to-business and the firm’s new direct-to-consumer service.

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By GlobalData

In the year to 30 August, Symington’s generated turnover of GBP114.2m (US$158.1m), up 4.2% on the previous 12 months. The company posted an operating profit of GBP2.8m, versus an operating loss of GBP2.9m a year earlier. After-tax profit was GBP2.9m, compared to a loss of GBP3.1m the previous year.

Outside the UK, the company’s sales were GBP8.6m, versus GBP4.9m a year earlier, helped by listings with Walmart.