Cranswick crowned with £40m acquisition

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FTSE250 meat producers Cranswick have bought a poultry business for £40m.

Norfolk-based Crown Chicken and parent company CCL Holdings were acquired in the deal from the Thacker family.

The deal for the company, which breeds and processes around 450,000 chickens a week for supply across the retail, wholesale and manufacturing sectors, was funded from existing bank facilities.

The family-run business was launched in 1951, before it was sold, and then bought back in a management buy-out in 1993. Current chairman of Crown, David Thacker, is retiring from the business.

Mill director Nigel Armes and agricultural director Matthew Ward will remain with the business.

For the year ended 31 December 2015, revenue for Crown was £83.8 million and adjusted EBITDA was £6.6 million.

This was slightly down from £85.9m for the year to 31 December 2014,, with pre-tax profits of £3.8m.

It employs 400 people in East Anglia and Cranswick expects it to “modestly” enhance earnings.

Crown also has a milling operation which satisfies all of the business’ own feed requirements and supplying feed to other pig and poultry producers in East Anglia.

Adam Couch, chief executive officer of £1.12bn, Hull-based Cranswick commented: “Crown is a well-respected operator in the UK poultry sector and represents an excellent opportunity for Cranswick to continue the development of its UK poultry business, building on the highly successful acquisition of Benson Park, the market leading producer of premium cooked poultry, in October 2014.

“This acquisition represents important progress in our long term growth strategy of developing new product channels in both pork and other proteins.”

This is not Cranswick’s first foray into the poultry industry, having acquired Benson Park in October 2014.


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