Through its subsidiary NIC Enterprises, Orkla Food Ingredients (OFI) has bought County Confectionery – known as County’s – for an undisclosed sum.
A family-owned company, County’s employs 95 people at its production facility in St Ives. During the year ending 31 May 2018, it had a turnover of £8.6m and employed 74 staff in production.
As well as its own fudge and chocolate brands – Copperpot and Fair & Square – County produces own-label fudge and chocolate for retail and foodservice.
OFI, which already operates in the UK through ingredients supplier Orchard Valley Foods, said the decision to buy County was “a good strategic fit”.
‘High quality fudge and chocolate’
“County’s has a long history of manufacturing high quality fudge and chocolate products,” said NIC Group chief executive Tor Osmundsen. “The acquisition complements Orkla Food Ingredients’ position as a supplier of ingredients and accessories to the UK bakery, chocolate and ice cream
Operating sales and distribution companies in 22 countries, Osmunden said Orkla Food Ingredients had “built up a robust position” within the ice cream ingredients and accessories segment in the UK.
Its biggest product categories are margarine and butter blends, yeast, bread and cake improvers and mixes, marzipan, and ice cream ingredients.
Meanwhile, subsidiary Orchard Valley Foods – which Orkla bought in March 2017 – held “a strong position” as a supplier of ingredients and accessories to the UK and European bakery, chocolate and ice cream market, Osmunden added.
The Orkla Group
Headquartered in Oslo, the Orkla Group operates companies in Europe, Asia and the US. In 2017, the company reported a turnover of NOK40bn (£3.77bn), and employed 18,000 people.
County’s will be consolidated into Orkla’s financial statements as of 1 October 2018.
In its official results report for the year ended 31 May 2017, which it filed on 7 March 2018, County’s revealed operating profit had more than halved year on year, predominantly due to surging staff costs.
The report stated that since the previous year had ended, the business had been hit by the cost of expanding its production facilities and raw material price increases, particularly for butter.
County’s stated it had attempted to claw back these price increases from customers, but had met with resistance and aimed to introduce manufacturing efficiencies to offset the situation.