Black pudding maker joins artisan speciality food group in latest acquisition

Ondrej Okeke, Lauren Roberts, Richard Morris, Graham Norfolk, Debbie Pierce, Ben Bradley, Dan Martin

An award-winning iconic producer of black puddings is primed for ‘step-change growth’ after becoming the third acquisition for Buxton-based artisan speciality food group Panicium, which has acquired The Bury Black Pudding Company (BBP) for an undisclosed sum.

The deal follows Panicium’s acquisitions of handmade cakes and biscuits producer Margaret Hall and specialist potted meats and spreads manufacturer, Binghams Food, in 2018 and 2021, respectively.

BBP, founded by managing director Debbie Pierce, has expanded into a business with a turnover of £11.5m, employing 122 staff operating from a 25,400 sq ft factory in Bury.

Graham Norfolk, one of Panicium’s founding directors, said it remains business as usual for BBP and its workforce, adding that the group would invest to further grow the newly-acquired company and build on its strong foundations by introducing new product ranges, increasing its market share and expanding and developing customer relationships.

Debbie and production director Richard Morris remain in their roles and join Panicium’s senior management team following the acquisition.

BBP has more than 50 years’ manufacturing experience and uses a gold medal-winning recipe that dates back over a century alongside traditional production methods.

Black pudding is synonymous with Bury and is part of the town’s heritage, and BBP’s dedication to quality has helped it become one of the leading brands in the UK.

As well as its continued focus on the production of traditional black pudding, BBP has developed vegan, gluten-free and chilli varieties. It has one of the longest established stalls on Bury’s world famous market, with generations of families coming to buy its renowned black puddings. The same black puddings are also supplied to major supermarkets, foodservice companies, wholesalers, hotels, butchers and restaurants across the UK.

Debbie began working on her local market at the age of 12 as a Saturday girl and spotted a gap in the market for a quality black pudding on supermarket shelves. She became business partners with Richard, who had taken over his father’s black pudding business after spending his teenage years working there. Over the years, BBP has grown significantly and remains committed to offering local job opportunities, including taking on apprentices and teaching them skills in the food manufacturing industry.

Debbie said: “Having steadily grown our sales and developed new business, Richard and I decided that it was time to start the next phase of business growth through becoming part of a group that is committed to the quality of its products and maintaining the family values of which we are so proud. BBP is poised for step-change growth and will benefit from investment and market extension available through the Panicium group.

“Our product range is complementary to the Panicium strategy and we share a number of routes to market. Ultimately, our products are consumed by people who love artisan, quality food. We look forward to working with the Panicium team to develop the group’s position as a leading supplier of quality foods.”

Graham Norfolk said: “The Bury Black Pudding Company makes artisan, high quality, delicious products with a distinctive brand, and complements Panicium’s strategy of acquiring companies in the UK artisan food sector to develop a portfolio of brands characterised by their hand made, high quality nature with a distinctly regional identity.”

A multi-disciplinary team at accounting and business advisory firm Hurst worked on the deal. Ben Bradley and Isabelle Bennett of Hurst Corporate Finance provided M&A and debt advisory expertise to Panicium.

Rebecca Grisewood, Laolu Elugbaju, Chris Lister and Rebecca Mills, all of Gateley Legal, provided corporate and banking advice to Panicium.

Lauren Roberts and Danielle Tierney, of Hurst Corporate Finance, and Hurst tax partner Liz Gallagher advised The Bury Black Pudding Company. Andrew Sturge, of Bexley Beaumont, provided legal advice.

Funding for the deal was provided by Shawbrook Bank and Frontier Development Capital.

Shawbrook’s team comprised Dan Martin and Nathan Burn from its corporate lending division. Rob Fawke, a partner at gunnercooke, advised Shawbrook.

Investment director, Ondrej Okeke, led the deal for Frontier Development Capital and was advised by Matthew Ingram and Michael Atherton at law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

Matt Beckley and Lewis Pearson at DTE Business Advisers provided financial due diligence support to Panicium, Shawbrook and FDC.

Ben Bradley, of Hurst Corporate Finance, said: “This is another fantastic deal for Panicium which enables the previous owners of The Bury Black Pudding Company to de-risk, and provides the business with lots of growth opportunities under new ownership. I look forward to seeing The Bury Black Pudding Company and Panicium go from strength to strength, with further acquisitions in the pipeline.”

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