Langholm aims to expand listings outside core customer Waitrose

Langholm aims to expand listings outside core customer Waitrose

Private-equity firm Langholm Capital is aiming to build new acquisition Barts Spices in a similar way to Dorset Cereals, a food company previously in its portfolio.

Langholm Capital, which sold Dorset Cereals in 2008 after three years of ownership, has taken a majority stake in Barts Spices after backing a management buy-out at the business.

Financial details were not disclosed by the Bart Spices management, led by chief executive Matthew Shaw, has taken a "small" stake in the company, a spokesperson told just-food today (4 May).

Langholm Capital operating partner Steven Esom, a former director at Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, will become Bart Spices chairman.

The Langholm Capital spokesperson said Bart Spices was in the private-equity firm's "sweet spot". Langholm Capital would look to drive NPD and improve listings at the spice maker, she explained.

"They will look to launch new products, invest in production and really invest in distribution and availability," the spokesperson said. "At the moment, Barts is heavily focused on Waitrose."

The private-equity firm is looking to expand Barts Spices after building Dorset Cereals' business during the three years it owned the muesli maker.

Dorset Cereals' sales grew from around GBP4m (US$6m) to just under GBP30m before it was sold to Wellness Foods, a health food group backed by horseracing tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier.

"They are hoping to do with Barts what they did with with Dorset and what they are doing with Tyrrells," the spokesperson said.

Langholm has a majority stake in upmarket crisp maker Tyrrells after a 2008 deal that valued the business at around GBP40m.