Bernard Matthews secures capital injection

Bernard Matthews secures capital injection

Turnaround specialist Rutland Partners has invested in Bernard Matthews, in a move it said would "strengthen" the UK poultry group and support "future growth and development".

Rutland, which includes Pizza Hut's UK business among its assets, did not disclose the size of the transaction but reports have suggested that the firm has taken a majority holding alongside the remaining family interests.

Bernard Matthews executive David Joll, who had served as CEO until 2006 only to return to head up the business last May, will continue in his role as executive chairman.

Alongside the day-to-day operations of the company, Joll had been responsible for overseeing Bernard Matthews' search for an injection of funds.

"It has been well documented that we have been looking into a range of funding options to help develop the business, but we wanted a partner who understood the company and were committed to helping us grow. Rutland fit this model perfectly, as from the outset they have seen real potential in the business," he said.

"With Rutland's investment, restructuring skills and support the business will be in a strong position to invest in its farming and operational assets. In addition, we will continue to focus on business improvement combined with product innovation and investment in our brand."

Bernard Matthews has faced pressure on sales and profits in recent years. The group returned to profit in fiscal 2012, with profits totalling GBP2m (US$3.2m). In the previous reporting period, the company had booked a pre-tax loss of GBP28.8m.

Rutland's investment portfolio spans a number of sectors, from Pizza Hut UK to construction, healthcare, consumer products and financial services.

Click here for an interview with Rutland managing partner Paul Cartwright on the deal.

Show the press release

Rutland Partners, the specialist turnaround and restructuring investor, is pleased to announce that on 30 August 2013 it completed an investment in Bernard Matthews Holdings Limited ("Bernard Matthews") alongside the existing family interests to strengthen the business and support its future growth and development.

Bernard Matthews, based in East Anglia, is the market leading producer of turkey in the UK operating across 50 farms and 4 processing facilities. The business breeds, raises and processes circa 7 million birds per annum in the UK and supplies the market with 1.5 million fresh birds over Christmas. Bernard Matthews operates a fully vertically integrated business model owning the entire supply chain from 'farm to fork' for both primary markets (eg. fresh turkey) and secondary markets (eg. cooked meats). In addition, Bernard Matthews has branded value added meat processing businesses in Germany and Hungary.

Despite enjoying an important market position in the UK poultry industry with a strong brand, Bernard Matthews has faced some trading challenges in recent years. David Joll, its former CEO until 2006, who has recently been brought back into the business as Executive Chairman will continue in the role following Rutland's investment.

David Wingfield, Partner of Rutland, said:

"We are excited to be investing in the leading turkey producer in the UK, which has such a widely recognised brand. We have been impressed by the energy and passion of the team at all levels of the business and are looking forward to the prospect of working with them under David's leadership to enable the business to reach its full potential."

David Joll, Executive Chairman of Bernard Matthews, said:

"We are delighted with the new investors and warmly welcome Rutland to the business. It has been well documented that we have been looking into a range of funding options to help develop the business, but we wanted a partner who understood the company and were committed to helping us grow. Rutland fit this model perfectly, as from the outset they have seen real potential in the business.

With Rutland's investment, restructuring skills and support the business will be in a strong position to invest in its farming and operational assets. In addition, we will continue to focus on business improvement combined with product innovation and investment in our brand."

Bernard Matthews is the tenth investment from Rutland Fund II (£320 million) and follows a busy 12 months for Rutland with its recent investments in AFI Group, Buy As You View and Pizza Hut UK Restaurants. In addition, Rutland has exited three businesses over the last year: Pulse Home Products, NoteMachine and Advantage Healthcare.

The transaction was led on behalf of Rutland by David Wingfield, Rahul Satsangi and Kajen Mohanadas with support from Paul Cartwright.

Original source: Rutland Partners