Devenish Nutrition to continue on acquisition trail

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

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Devenish Nutrition to continue on acquisition trail
Acquisition hungry Devenish Nutrition has bought UK-based animal nutrition business A-One Feed Supplements and is eyeing further takeover targets.

Headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland and with global sales in excess of £140m ($219.6m), Devenish Nutrition manufactures nutritional products for the pig, poultry, ruminant, companion animal and equine sectors. 

The group operates four manufacturing sites in the UK and two in North America. 

In an exclusive interview with FeedNavigator, Owen Brennan, CEO and chairman of the Devenish Group said: “Our objective is to grow organically and by acquisition so more acquisition activity is likely. It will be governed by our ability to identify businesses that are of interest for one reason or another or by business locations.”​ 

He said Devenish would be focusing its search on Ireland, the UK, the US, East Africa, the Caribbean, India and Pakistan, and confirmed that the group was in “advanced stage negotiations” ​in North America. 

Latest transaction completed

Devenish bought Yorkshire-based A-One Feed Supplements for an undisclosed sum on 28 November 2014. With a turnover of £20m and employing 40 staff at its base in Thirsk, Yorkshire, A-One Feed Supplements is an independent manufacturer of feeds and supplements for piglets, game and ruminants, serving the UK and Ireland. 

In a statement, Devenish said the purchase established it as the only independent specialist piglet feed manufacturer in the UK and Ireland and the largest independent manufacturer overall. 

“The acquisition strengthens our market position, making us the number one supplier in the UK and Irish markets in our sector. It also adds capacity, improves our position in procurement and strengthens our ability to support each other,”​ confirmed Brennan. 

He said that the A-One Feed brand would continue to operate alongside Devenish’s existing product range and outlined Devenish’s intentions to further grow A-One Feeds in the UK and international markets. 

A-One is a very established and respected company so our immediate focus will be to support that position, by stepping up the company’s ability to invest in its factory, its innovation and its people. The position of our business internationally will also make it simpler to grow A-One in overseas markets,”​ he said. 

Second deal in two years

The purchase of A-One Feed Supplements represents the second deal for Devenish in less than two years – in April 2013 the Belfast-based animal nutrition firm snapped up another British feed manufacturer, Hi Peak Feeds.

The company makes no secret of the role it expects acquisition to play in its long term growth plans. 

“Our strategy is to grow through a combination of organic growth and acquisition,”​ said Brennan. 

As for other aspects of its growth strategy, Brennan said: “We will be investing right across the business: in factories, in innovation. We’re a front-runner in innovation and that activity continues year on year, improving existing products and developing new technologies.”​ 

He said the focus of the company’s innovation was “wide-ranging, reflecting what is happening in the market”​, and listed ingredient safety, sustainable production and technologies that will close the gap between animal performance and genetic potential as three areas of development.

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