UK food-to-go firm Around Noon buys local peer Chef in a Box - Just Food
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UK food-to-go firm Around Noon buys local peer Chef in a Box

30 Jun 2017

Northern Ireland-based food-to-go producer Around Noon has acquired London-based sandwich and snack manufacturer Chef in a Box from Donegal Investment Group to enable the company to expand its presence in the UK.

The Newry-headquartered Around Noon, which claims it has “a market-leading position on the island of Ireland”, described Chef in a Box, as “a premium sandwich and snack maker” for customers in the corporate sector. Around Noon said the deal will enable it to gain a stronger foothold in London, and provide a platform for future UK expansion. Financial details were not disclosed.

Around Noon forecast its turnover could double as a result of the deal. The company, which supplies customers including Starbucks and The Henderson Group, is on course to increase its turnover from GBP14m (US$18.1m) last year to around GBP20m. At present, around GBP2m of Around Noon’s sales originate from Great Britain.

It said the acquisition of Chef in a Box will double the firm’s capacity and is expected to boost turnover to more than GBP40m. Around Noon’s target is to reach GBP100m by 2021.

The deal will allow Around Noon to access Chef in a Box’s manufacturing, sales and distribution infrastructure, as well as its high-end client-base, as it seeks to achieve its growth ambitions.

Gareth Chambers, Around Noon’s CEO, said: “Chef in a Box is an excellent business with an impressive client portfolio, and acquiring the company from Donegal Investment Group gives us the presence and infrastructure required to have a significant impact in the UK market.”

Howard Farquhar, chairman of Around Noon, added: “Food-to-go is a high-growth category and we see London as a very significant opportunity for us, as well as a platform for further UK expansion, including other potential acquisitions. We are delighted to be expanding our geographical reach, adding to our manufacturing capacity and welcoming new colleagues to our business.”

Around Noon supplies sandwiches, wraps, salads and fruit pots under its Scribbles brand across Ireland. It also has an in-house bakery outfit, Sweet Things, which it acquired last year, and also sells cold pressed juices.

The company’s latest financial accounts ending December 2016 reveal pre-tax profits of more than GBP44,000 on a GBP14.4m turnover.