UK-based Whitworths has acquired Carr’s food division – Carr’s Flour Mills Ltd - for a gross consideration of £36m ($48m) and net consideration of £24.9m ($33m) after adjustments for working capital and net debt.
Based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, Whitworths is a family owned business that includes flour milling company Whitworth Brothers Ltd.
Whitworths described Carr’s as “a great fit geographically” and said the deal would give the business national reach and access to the South East, North of England and Scottish markets.
“Carr’s Flour Mills shares a similar history to Whitworths in that it is a long-standing business which has received material investment in recent years,” added Whitworths chairman Martin George.
Increasing competition and volatility in the flour market made consolidation essential and inevitable, said Carr’s chief executive Tim Davies.
“The sale of Carr’s Flour Mills represents an exciting stage in Carr’s strategic development,” he added. “This acquisition by Whitworths presents a great opportunity for the food division to continue building on the strong foundations laid over many years.”
The remaining Carr’s divisions - agriculture and engineering - offer services including the manufacture and supply of feed blocks for livestock, farm machinery, a UK network of rural stores and robotic and remote handling equipment. The business supplies customers in 35 countries around the world.
International feed supplement business
“We will continue to focus on our strategy of delivering growth in our UK agriculture business, the development of our international feed supplement businesses and building our specialist engineering division in niche markets across the globe,” said Davies.
The business will return £16m ($21m) of the food division sale to shareholders as a special dividend, with the remaining £8.9m ($12m) providing the opportunity to expand the group’s continuing businesses by acquisition and organic growth, said Carr’s.
“Carr’s continues to benefit from both operational and geographic diversity and a strong balance sheet and we look forward to an exciting future focused on delivering growth in our higher margin products and services within the Agriculture and Engineering divisions,” added Davies.