Seabrook Crisps sold for £35M in management buyout

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Bye turned the company's fortunes after joining in 2012
Bye turned the company's fortunes after joining in 2012

Related tags Leveraged buyout

Seabrook Crisps has been sold for £35M in a management buyout, after the Yorkshire-based manufacturer returned to growth with a post-tax profit of £1.3M last year.

The deal was secured last Friday (July 17) by Seabrook ceo Jonathan Bye with help from the private equity firm LDC, which now owns a majority stake in the company.

Bye, the former boss of Vimto, took over the management of struggling Seabrook in 2012 after it posted a £1.8M loss.

Seabrook returned to growth after Bye, who had previously admitted to being a little taken aback by the challenge of turning the company around, introduced a new lattice-cut crisp, which generated an extra £3M in sales.

More than one in four UK households now purchase Seabrook Crisps as a result of innovative products such as its lattice-cut product, said LDC director Ged Gould.

'Increased its retail sales value​'

Bye's business boosting ideas

  • Introduce new lattice-cut crisp
  • Get costs under control
  • Expand the brand out of the north
  • Full-scale brand review and relaunch

"The business has increased its retail sales value year-on-year by 12% and continues to consistently outperform the overall UK crisp market, which has grown 4.2% since 2007 and is worth £1.1bn," ​he added.

Seabrook, which manufactures 20M bags of crisps each month and employs 150 staff, is expected to generate £27M in sales this year.

Bye said: "LDC's support of Seabrook Crisps management buyout is great news and will help us to not only deliver, but accelerate our growth plan.

"It will enable us to invest both in our operations to drive further efficiencies and flexibility and to increase marketing investment to continue to build the brand's national profile.

"Importantly, this will drive the business forward with the same team that has put our winning brand strategy in place," ​he added. "As the main challenger brand in the category we wanted to keep momentum and the same culture and expertise that helped deliver our growth so far."

New manufacturing facilities

The investment from LDC, which is the private equity arm of the Lloyds Banking Group, would help the company to buy new manufacturing facilities, Gould added. 

New product development and exposure to opportunities in the international market would also be boosted by the investment, he said.

"Having established itself as an iconic food brand and become a staple on the shelves of retailers across the country, Seabrook has set its sights firmly on accelerating its growth plans and growing further share in the UK market.

"Seabrook impressed us with its unwavering commitment to product quality and its ability to consistently deliver a range of products that are loved by consumers and meet their ever-developing tastes,"​ Gould said.

Meanwhile, LDC's investment in Seabrook was part of its financial strategy to pump more than £1.2bn into northern businesses in a bid to boost the manufacturing potential of the 'Northern Powerhouse'.

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1 comment


Posted by james wilson,

Ive bought two bags of multi pack crisps from heron foods and both times half of the packets are open and they are all stale. I asked at the shop and was told they couldnt do anything and to contact youtselves. Well the phone number on the multibag ive just rang and its an automated service so you cant even get to speak to someone to complain about it. Why have a customer service number when you cant get through to anyone. Please can someone contact me so i can raise my concerns. Im spending money which i dont really have for 16 bags of crisps and you have to chuck half of them away. Its not right is it. My number is 07709017321. Thanks

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