Yorkshire-based Symington’s, the food manufacturing company that counts the Ainsley Harriott range among its famous brands, has further strengthened its position in the UK couscous market, acquiring the Sammy’s brand from Bristol-based First Quality Foods. The acquisition of Sammy’s, which is a full asset deal, will see the Sammy’s brand being integrated into Symington’s current Leeds manufacturing site and will cement Symington’s position as leaders in the flavoured couscous market. This is the second acquisition by the company, following the purchase of dried foods business Hain Celestial in October 2007.
The acquisitions confirm a strategy for growth outlined by CEO David Salkeld last September (2007) when he, alongside marketing director Henrik Nygaard Pade, acquired Symington’s via a Management Buy-in with funding provided by Hermes Private Equity and Yorkshire Bank.
Sammy’s is one of the UK’s favourite ranges of quality flavoured couscous. Made from 100 percent natural ingredients, the range also includes organic and wholegrain varieties for the health conscious consumer and snack packs for a convenient hot snack.
David Salkeld said: “This is a strategic acquisition for us, which confirms our commitment to developing the business in our key sector of ambient dried foods, where we feel we can add value. We are also investing heavily in NPD, doubling our team and completing a £2m capital equipment spend in our factory.
“We identified the potential of the business last year and with the financial support of Hermes and our extensive brand experience internally, we will continue our acquisition trail as we look to develop the business further.
“While it is a time of huge turbulence in the food manufacturing market, Symington’s is bucking this trend with confident growth expectations and ambition.”
Justin Ward, director of Hermes Private Equity, added: “We are pleased to continue to support Symington’s which, we believe, has significant growth potential and is managed by a team with excellent food brand credentials.”
First Quality Foods will continue to focus on its core bakery business ‘Kingsbake’ and its Ethnic Foods Division which comprises the Al’Fez brand of Moroccan & Lebanese foods.
Symington’s, which started life back in 1837 when then owner William Symington invented dried soup, is a leading manufacturer of dried foods including rice, pasta, soup, snacks, sauces, gravy, stuffing and couscous. The business includes famous branded products such as Ainsley Harriott, Crosse & Blackwell, Granose, Symington’s and Mug Shot.
The business employs more than 400 people in the Leeds area.