Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Biscuit maker Burton's sold to Camelot in £350m deal

Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels maker Burton's has been acquired by the owner of National Lottery operator Camelot

Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels maker Burton's has been swallowed up by the owner of National Lottery operator Camelot in a £350 million deal.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP), whose worldwide investments also include the UK's Busy Bees nursery chain, indicated it was looking to expand the business.

St Albans-based Burton's employs more than 2,000 staff in the UK with plants in Llantarnam in south Wales, Blackpool and Edinburgh as well as a chocolate refinery in Moreton, Merseyside.

The firm, which is the UK's second biggest biscuit maker behind United Biscuits, has been sold by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and private equity group Apollo Global Management.

They had taken control of the group in 2009 under a debt-for-equity swap after it racked up huge debts under previous owner Duke Street Capital.

Burton's chief executive Ben Clarke said that in considering the latest transaction, bosses had met 30 different potential buyers and that it was "critical for the management team to find the right partner". The sale is expected to complete this month.

Mr Clarke has previously said he wanted jobs and manufacturing processes to remain in the UK after any deal.

Jo Taylor, head of OTPP's London office, said the new owners were looking forward to growing the business in the UK and further into overseas markets while there were also "many strategic acquisitions to consider".

He added: "With its portfolio of iconic brands, Burton's is set to lead the premium biscuit market for some time to come and use product innovation to appeal to consumers looking for delicious snack inside and outside the home."

Burton's traces its roots back to George Burton, who began making biscuits in Leek, Staffordshire in the mid 1800s.

The existing company was formed in 2000 by the merger of Horizon Biscuit Company and Burton's Gold Medal Biscuits, which was created from the Burton family's original bakery founded in 1935.

Burton's also bakes Maryland chocolate chip cookies, Lyons biscuits, and popular Cadbury's brands such as Fingers under licence.

 

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