Faccenda acquisition turns screws on Bernard Matthews

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Management

The acquisition adds weight to Cranberry Foods' strength in UK turkey supply
The acquisition adds weight to Cranberry Foods' strength in UK turkey supply
Bernard Matthews faces growing pressure in the UK poultry sector with Faccenda Group’s acquisition of Cranberry Foods, according to industry commentators.

The acquisition, which was announced today, will create a combined business with annual sales of €492.8m and gives Faccenda access to Cranberry Foods’ expertise in the turkey sector. Cranberry Foods is the UK’s second biggest turkey farmer and supplier after Bernard Matthews, with estimated annual sales of €123.1m.

I think it will give Bernard Matthews something to think about,” ​Julian Wild told FoodNavigator, food group director at Rollits solicitors in the UK. “It has had to deal with a number of issues in recent years, not least of which included the passing of Bernard Matthews himself. It now has an even stronger, broader competitor​.”

One financial analyst said: “It still retains a substantial lead in the UK turkey sector, but this deal certainly doesn’t make things any easier for Bernard Matthews​.”

No competition concerns

A spokeswoman for Faccenda Group said although the deal was substantial, there was no danger of competition concerns leading to a referral to the Office of Fair Trading. “The total value of the UK poultry business is £4bn (€4.92bn). Combined, these businesses are only worth £400m (€492.8m)​.”

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, would benefit Faccenda significantly, she said. “Faccenda is already very efficient, but by creating this deal it has given the business room for growth​.”

There were no plans for restructuring in the short term, she said. The current joint managing directors of Cranberry Foods, Andrew Lewins and David Horn, who also own a large proporition of the company, would stay on to steer the business through the transition process, she added. “The plan is for other existing managerial posts to stay in place as well​.”

Wild said it was not a foregone conclusion that they would leave after that, as their knowledge of Cranberry would be vital.

Benefits to business

Lewins said: “Through this acquisition Cranberry gains the benefits of being part of a larger food business that seeks to build on its existing strengths and successes. It heralds a new era for Cranberry Foods and its employees​.”

Faccenda group is a privately owned family business that has supplied fresh chicken products for 50 years. It employs 2,000 people in hatcheries, farms, feed mills and processing plants across the UK.

Cranberry Food s supplies top UK supermarkets and the foodservice sector. The company has 750 employees and has processing plants in Scropton, Derbyshire and Abergavenny, south Wales. Its farming operation stretches from Yorkshire to south Wales.

In a statement, Faccenda Group said the deal complemented its recent announcement for its planned internal investment at its Telford and Brackley sites in the UK. The Group said the move created a major cross-sector food business with significant penetration in the UK’s growing retail and foodservice sector.

Related topics: Poultry, Europe, Manufacturers