Lincolnshire-based Readifoods Limited has been acquired by AIM-listed Zetar plc in a transaction originated by Cooper Parry Corporate Finance.
Established in 1985, Readifoods specialises in the sourcing, preparation and supply of premium quality dried fruit and nut blends. It distributes to national and local retailers and distributors, and is a major supplier to one of the UK’s leading supermarkets. In the year ended 31 December 2005, Readifoods’ turnover was £13.7 million.
Readifoods has a modern, 27,000 sq ft processing and packing facility at Heckington, near Sleaford, and approximately 40 employees. Roy Lee, Managing Director, and John Main, Commercial Director, have retained their positions post acquisition. The company was previously part of the Melbourne Holdings group, whose main activities are construction-related. Readifoods will continue to operate from its current site.
Zetar was listed on AIM in January 2005 to acquire businesses operating in the confectionery, snack foods and related sectors. Readifoods represents Zetar’s second acquisition, following its purchase of Kinnerton Group, a leading UK manufacturer of novelty and niche chocolate confectionery, in 2005.
Zetar has paid a maximum of £4.2 million for Readifoods, and has repaid £1.2 million of Readifoods’ overdraft.
The transaction was led by Cooper Parry. They commented “Readifoods has a growing presence in the healthy snack foods market, and fits extremely well with Zetar’s new Natural Snacks division. Readifoods was non-core to Melbourne Holdings, and should now benefit from being part of a dynamic and growing food group.”
Legal advice to the vendors was provided by Eversheds, led by Stephen Hill. He commented “This is a great opportunity to take Readifoods to the next level and for Readifoods and Zetar to combine and develop their processes and customer base. The deal was conducted to a tight timetable but, with the right project controls, was completed on time and with minimal disruption to the business. “