UK's Hill Biscuits sold in management buy-out - Just Food
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UK’s Hill Biscuits sold in management buy-out

18 Apr 2017

UK private-equity firm LDC announced today (18 April) it had backed a management buyout of Manchester-based Hill Biscuits for an undisclosed sum.

UK’s Hill Biscuits sold in management buy-out

UK private equity firm LDC announced today (18 April) it had backed a management buyout of Manchester-based Hill Biscuits for an undisclosed sum.

Following the deal, Hill plans to “kick-start a multi-million-pound capital investment programme” to expand its production capacity and develop new products “in order to take advantage of rising demand from current and new customers”, LDC said. 

No details of the breakdown of Hill’s ownership were revealed. However, a spokesperson for LDC told just-food: “LDC has essentially partnered with the management team for the buyout. LDC has invested an amount in the business for the current management team to take the business over. They will partner the management team and sit alongside them.”

The buyout was led by Hill managing director Steven Wetherby. LDC’s investment team was led by investment director Simon Braham, John Clarke and Ged Gould. The investment provides an exit for the Bennett family, which originally bought the business out of Rowntree in 1980.

Wetherby said: “Partnering with LDC will enable us to drive significant investment into the business for the benefit of our customers, adding greater production capacity and innovative new ranges, whilst staying focused on our core offering of quality, value for money products.” 

Braham added: “Hill is a classic example of a business with latent potential. The shareholders have built a great business over the years and the current management team has an ambitious vision for forward growth.”

Hill, which LDC said has annual sales of GPB20m (US$25m), was founded as a small shop in Dukinfield, Manchester by John and Sarah Hill in 1855.

LDC claimed the company “is now one of the UK’s leading biscuit manufacturers”. It said Hill produces over 30m biscuits a week for the retail and foodservice markets, including digestives, ginger nuts, custard creams and bourbons.

The private-equity firm said Hill will be “seeking strategic acquisitions to build further scale and diversity, as well as implementing a new international sales strategy to accelerate growth in overseas markets”.