Business Irish

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Bulmers owner in 'advanced discussions' to buy UK independent distributor

Bulmers cider
Bulmers cider
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Bulmers owner C&C, with the support of AB InBev, is in "advanced discussions" to buy the Matthew Clark Bibendum business, the largest independent distributor to the UK on-trade drinks sector.

The proposed acquisition is conditional of the appointment of administrators to Conviviality Brands, which is expected to occur later today.

Consideration for the shares will be a nominal sum, and C&C has said that it will provide sufficient funds to support the on-going working capital and other cash requirements of the business.

At completion, Matthew Clark Bibendum will have £102m (€117m) of working capital facilities provided by its current lender group, repayable in instalments over the 12 months following completion, a statement from C&C said.

In addition, AB InBev will provide additional financial support to the transaction.

In the latest accounts for the 52 weeks ended 30 April 2017, Matthew Clark Bibendum had gross revenues of £1.2bn and adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of £51.3m.

However, in their trading update of 21 March 2018, the board of Conviviality stated that they expected that the adjusted EBITDA for the entire Conviviality group for the year ending 29 April 2018 to be in the range of £45.5m to £46m.

"We know the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses very well," Stephen Glancey, Group CEO of C&C, said.

"The last few weeks have been challenging for employees, customers and suppliers alike. We hope today’s announcement can put an end to this period of disruption and uncertainty."

"We look-forward to working with our new colleagues and other stakeholders to bring stability and restore the group’s position as one of the leading and most respected drinks suppliers to the UK hospitality sector."

With a range of over 4,000 products, including beers, wines, spirits, cider and soft drinks, sourced from in excess of 300 suppliers, Matthew Clark is the largest independent distributor to the UK on-trade drinks sector.

The company also has a number of exclusive distribution agreements for third party products into the UK market and also has a limited range of own brand wines.

In total the company has a nationwide distribution network of 18 depots and sales team of over 250.

Meanwhile, Bibendum is one of the largest wine, spirits and craft beer distributors and wholesalers to the UK on-trade and off-trade, with a particular focus on wine.

Bibendum offers a range of over 4,000 wines, spirits and craft beers sourced from over 400 suppliers from over 20 different countries.

In addition, the Matthew Clark Bibendum business includes Catalyst, the brand representation business, and Peppermint the outdoor events business.

A further announcement from C&C will be made later this morning.

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