UK-based Napier Brown Foods has announced that it has acquired sugar firm James Budgett Sugars from its current owners ED&F Man Holdings and Greencore Group for around £17.5m (US$32.4m).

Napier Brown Foods, a supplier of sugar, value-added sugar, nut products, dairy powders and associated food products, said the acquisition was a “significant milestone” for the company.

“It further strengthens our position as the major independent sugar distributor in the UK, positioning us well for the changes in the sugar regime to come,” said chairman Patrick Ridgwell.

“The acquisition cements an important trading link with ED&F Man, one of the world’s largest sugar traders,” he added.

Budgetts, a supplier of sugar since 1857, remained in private ownership until 1980 when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of ED&F Man. In 1989, Irish Sugar, part of Irish food group Greencore, bought a 33.33% interest in Budgetts. 

Budgetts imports refined sugars from other members of the European Union and raw cane sugars from the African, Caribbean and Pacific ‘sugar protocol’ countries. It distributes sugar throughout the UK to manufacturers of food, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals and animal foods. 

“The sale of our interest in Budgetts to Napier Brown will enable Greencore to continue to sharpen its focus on its growing convenience food activities,” said Greencore’s chief executive, David Dilger.