Packaging specialist acquired by US suitor in £12.5m deal

AutoCoding Systems

Runcorn firm AutoCoding Systems has been acquired in a £12.5m deal by US group JBT Corporation.

JBT is a global technology solutions provider to high value segments of the food and beverage industry.

AutoCoding is a provider of software solutions for the automated set-up and control of end-of-line packaging devices.

Its central enterprise software solution integrates and automates the use of in-line packaging devices, such as coders, scanners, labellers, and checkweighers, reducing manual inspection and downtime for line configuration.

The business has a turnover of around £5m and is headquartered near Runcorn with additional operations in the US and Australia.

The deal extends Chicago-based JBT’s capabilities in packaging line equipment and associated devices, including coding and label inspection and verification.

While AutoCoding is scalable across JBT FoodTech’s diverse end markets, it provides a strategic fit with JBT’s Proseal business where its tray sealing equipment begins the end-of-line process.

Brian Deck, JBT’s president and chief executive, said: “AutoCoding’s offering embodies JBT’s broader mission to make better use of the world’s precious resources by providing a solution that substantially enhances our customers’ success.

“AutoCoding helps its customers reduce food waste, ensure complete and accurate food packaging information, and facilitate traceability and food safety.

“The acquisition also expands our capabilities in the large and growing global market for in-line coding and inspection solutions, which includes hardware and software for food & beverage, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical customers.”

Law firm Irwin Mitchell advised on the sale, with Victoria Zivkovic, corporate partner from Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, along with Gregory Mazgajczyk, acting for the shareholders of AutoCoding.

Victoria said: “AutoCoding is a great example of an innovative North West-based business and this transaction recognises its international strength as a specialist provider in packaging line automation solutions.

“There is strong global demand for AutoCoding’s expertise and this deal is a significant boost to JBT’s offering to its international customer base in the food and beverage sector.”