Cranswick, a U.K.-based pork business, has acquired the whole of the issued share capital of CCL Holdings Limited (Crown) and its 100-percent owned subsidiary, Crown Chicken Limited, from the Thacker family and management.

Based in East Anglia, integrated poultry producer, Crown, breeds, rears and processes fresh chicken for supply into a broad customer base across grocery retail, food service, wholesale and manufacturing channels from its plant in Weybread, Suffolk. In Kenninghall, Norfolk, the company has a feed milling operation that supplies its own requirements as well as those of other pig and poultry producers in the region.

The deal is reported to be valued at GBP40 million (US$57 million), and is being funded from existing bank facilities.

“Crown is a well-respected operator in the U.K. poultry sector and represents an excellent opportunity for Cranswick to continue the development of its UK poultry business, building on the highly successful acquisition of Benson Park, the market leading producer of premium cooked poultry, in October 2014,” said Adam Couch, CEO of Cranswick. “This acquisition represents important progress in our long-term growth strategy of developing new product channels in both pork and other proteins.”

Crown’s Nigel Armes (mill director) and Matthew Ward (agricultural director) are to remain with the business, while its current chairman, David Thacker, will retire.


Cranswick's current business activities

Cranswick’s business activities are focused within the U.K. and include the processing and supply of fresh pork, sausage, bacon, cooked meats, premium cooked poultry, charcuterie, pastry products and sandwiches. Products are primarily supplied into the U.K. food retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors. Results for the year to March 31 2015 showed revenues of GBP1,003 million (US$1,424 million) and profit before tax of GBP52.8 million (US$75 million).

In its trading statement released on the same date as the acquisition of Crown was announced, Cranswick reported that continued positive trading during the final quarter of the financial year resulted in full-year sales volumes 12 percent higher than the previous year. Full-year underlying sales growth was 10 percent, with revenues ahead by 5 percent owing to the recent period of lower pork prices. Cranswick’s export sales were up markedly in the final quarter as the result of robust pork demand in Asia.

For the year ended December 31 2015, Crown’s revenue was GBP83.8 million (US$119 million) and adjusted EBITDA was UKGBP6.6 million (US$9.4 million). Crown employs a work force of approximately 400 across its operations.