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September 4, 2013

UK: Turnaround specialist Rutland invests in Bernard Matthews

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".

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.

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