Saturday 18 November 2017

CapVest in €209m buyout of British pork brands

Karro Group supplies raw pork and cured, cooked and frozen meats to retail, food-service and manufacturing customers. Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
Karro Group supplies raw pork and cured, cooked and frozen meats to retail, food-service and manufacturing customers. Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images

Rachel Martin

Co Tyrone pork brand Cookstown is set to be taken over as part of a £180m (€209m) deal to buy its parent company.

Cookstown is owned by North Yorkshire firm Karro Food Group, one of the UK's largest suppliers of pork products, but both companies will be taken over by the London private equity firm CapVest founded by Irishman Seamus Fitzpatrick.

It's understood the jobs of the 800 staff members will be retained in the North as part of the buyout. The Karro management team - including Di Walker who chairs the board - will also remain with the business.

The deal is subject to clearance by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Karro Group turns over more than £500m (€578m) annually and employs around 3,100 people. The group processes around 45,000 pigs every week across its nine Irish and UK sites and supplies raw pork and cured, cooked and frozen meats to retail, food-service and manufacturing customers.

It also runs the McGhee's butcher concession in British supermarket giant Asda.

The business employs more than 90 people and operates around 25 butchers shops across the UK. Its meat is supplied from its factory in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.

"Karro is a great fit with CapVest's overall investment strategy. The group has established a leading position in the processing and sale of British pork for which we believe the long-term fundamentals are very strong," said Jason Rodrigues, managing director of CapVest.

"We are delighted to back a very experienced and capable management team and we look forward to working closely with them in pursuing exciting new organic and acquisition-led growth opportunities."

It follows four years after the group made a £10m (€11.5m) investment in its Cookstown factory, increasing pork production. The group was acquired from previous owner VION by private equity firm Endless in January 2013.

Endless and Karro are expected to comment when the deal officially completes.

Irish Independent

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