The boss of meringue, teacake and snowball manufacturer Lees Foods is set to retire after selling the Coatbridge-based business to larger bakery rival Finsbury Food in a cash deal worth £5.7 million.
Clive Miquel, who led the £5.6m management buy-out of Lees in 2012, said "the time was right" to pass the business on and that Lees will be better-positioned to grow at scale under Finsbury's ownership.
Established in 1931, Lees employs more than 200 staff at its site in North Lanarkshire. They will join some 1,100 employees at Lightbody in Hamilton and about 200 workers at Johnstone's in East Kilbride as part of the Finsbury group, which has a total of 3,000 people in the UK, France and Poland.
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Finsbury said it will be able to leverage the scale and breadth its commercial team and licensed brand portfolio to drive incremental growth for Lees. In addition, there will be scale cost synergies "over time" in areas such as logistics.
A spokesman for Finsbury emphasised that the company plans to continue investing in the Coatbridge site and its people.
“We are delighted to announce the strategic acquisition of Lees Foods Limited, as we consolidate our position in the sweet treats sector and grow our manufacturing presence in Scotland," Finsbury chief executive John Duffy said.
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"Lees currently has a well-established position in the UK meringue category and strong relationships across a high-quality and diverse customer base. This provides Finsbury with the opportunity to build upon both businesses’ existing retail relationships and unlock further commercial opportunities, including out-of-home. We look forward to welcoming Lees to the wider group.”
Lees generated underlying earnings of £900,000 in 2022 on sales of £21.6m. Finsbury said the acquisition will immediately enhance earnings, with Lees being acquired on a cash and debt-free basis.