Seabrook Crisps has completed a management buyout backed by leading mid-market private equity house LDC, as the business embarks on a major growth drive to continue to increase its market share.
Established in 1945 by Charles Brook and his son Colin Brook, Seabrook Crisps is a well-established heritage business that produces a range of crinkle cut, straight cut and premium hand-cooked Lattice crisps in Bradford, Yorkshire. The company supplies over 20 million bags of crisps each month and employs nearly 150 staff.
The company has been transformed in recent years with the launch of innovative new products, including its ‘Lattice’ range in 2014, robust marketing campaigns and a clear promotional strategy. As a result the brand has grown distribution nationally, with strong positions in grocery retail, value retail and foodservice, and increased household penetration to over one in four UK households.
The business has a retail sales value of £33m1 and is growing year-on-year by 14.5 per cent and continues to consistently outperform the overall UK crisp market, which has grown at 4.2 per cent CAGR since 2007 and is worth £1.1bn.
The management buyout has been led by chief executive Jonathan Bye and a management team (Kevin Butterworth, Marketing Director, Daniel Woodwards, Chief Operating Officer and Jon Wood, Commercial Director) which has overseen the strong growth of the Seabrook brand since his appointment in 2012. The transaction will see a full exit by owner Ken Brook-Chrispin, who led a buyout of other family shareholders in 2006.
Jonathan Bye commented:
“LDC’s support for the MBO of Seabrook Crisps is great news and will help us to not only deliver but accelerate our growth plan. It will enable us to invest both in our operations to drive further efficiencies and flexibility and to increase marketing investment to continue to build the brand’s national profile. Importantly, this will drive the business forward with the same team that has put our winning brand strategy in place. As the main challenger brand in the category we wanted to keep momentum and the same culture and expertise that helped deliver our growth so far.”
LDC’s involvement is the culmination of independent corporate finance advisor McQueen’s appointment last year to explore all strategic options for Seabrook as it looked for external investment. The investment from LDC, which has taken the majority equity stake in the business, will support Seabrook as it looks to invest in its manufacturing infrastructure, new product development and develop the brand to realise its full potential.