An affiliate company of the Co Armagh-based Tayto has bought the Leeds-based vending solutions company, Freedom Refreshments Limited, in a multi-million pound deal.
The move by the Montagu Group is the first acquisition in the vending-solutions sector, and includes Freedom Refreshment’s subsidiaries, LTT Vending, eXpresso PLUS and NIVO.
The acquisition of Freedom Refreshments closely follows Tayto’s recent purchase of London-based Tavern Snacks and a majority acquisition of Devon-based Portlebay Popcorn.
The addition of a GB vending arm is the next progressive step in the wider Group’s growth plans.
Paul Allen, chief executive of the Montagu Group, explained: “The acquisition of Freedom Refreshments is a key facet of our strategic development programme.
“While we have a strong share of the vending market in Northern Ireland, we only had limited reach into GB and this deal will enable us to increase our presence significantly within this sector. The people at Freedom are experts at what they do, continually developing their brand and subsidiaries through both organic growth and acquisitions.”
Tayto has a portfolio of well-known brands, including Tayto, Golden Wonder, Mr Porky, REAL Crisps, Jonathan Crisp and Portlebay Popcorn and this acquisition offers the company access to almost 7,000 vending machines across England.
Mr Allen continued: “There are several synergies between Tayto Group and Freedom Refreshments and this acquisition will help us to bring our products to a wider audience. Freedom Refreshments turns over around £16million pa and is an established provider of hot and cold drinks and snacks across many sectors, including healthcare, workplace, education and retail.
“A Tayto Group sister company, Montagu Group, has been established to operate and direct the vending arm of the Group’s business. The vending machines will carry Tayto Group products, where appropriate, but their contents will be driven by consumer demand and will also include an extensive range of hot and cold drinks as well as confectionery.”
Edward Selka, former partner/owner of Freedom Refreshments, said: “After a series of transformations, we have built the company into a thriving, national, vending refreshment and services business with around 160 employees and we are delighted that Montagu Group has purchased the company’s entire share capital.
“We are a family-run company and as the new owner, Montagu Group, is also family-operated, we share many core values. We view this acquisition as an excellent opportunity for Freedom Refreshment’s employees to enjoy a secure future in a positive workplace as the company continues to grow and succeed.”
Mr Allen, meanwhile, added: “Within the last 12 years, Tayto Group has grown exponentially, increasing turnover from £19 million a year to around £180 million. The new acquisitions will pave the way for further expedited growth.”
Tayto Group, which is owned by Northern Ireland family, the Hutchinsons, employs more than 1500 people across its operations and is the country’s largest UK-owned crisp and snack manufacturer.
With headquarters in Tayto Castle, Co Armagh, the Group produces more than 25 million bags of snacks and crisps each week across its six sites, which are based in Tandragee, Corby, Scunthorpe, Westhoughton, Wolverhampton and Devon.
Tayto Group products are currently exported to around 43 countries, including Australia, Dubai, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.
Fergal Keenan – SONI Agricultural Liaison Officer
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