Calbee UK acquires Seabrook Crisps to strengthen its presence in Europe

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Calbee UK has acquired Seabrook Crisps for an undisclosed sum
Calbee UK has acquired Seabrook Crisps for an undisclosed sum

Related tags Calbee Seabrook crisps Mergers and acquisitions

The UK subsidiary of the Japanese snack food giant has acquired UK potato chips producer Seabrook Crisps for an undisclosed sum.

According to Calbee UK, Seabrook’s ‘iconic’ brand of potato chips – which includes straight cut, crinkle cut and lattice chips, as well as low-calorie snacks – will make a good addition to its own portfolio that includes Yushoi, Rustiks and Harvest Snaps.

Powerful move

“Bringing together Calbee UK, which boldly strives to disrupt the UK snacking category through exciting innovation, with the strength of the iconic, dynamic, challenger Seabrook brand, is a powerful move to leverage our combined strengths, accelerate our growth and increase our market penetration,”​ said Richard Robinson, Calbee UK’s MD.

“Seabrook is a company with a great history, tradition and numerous first to market initiatives, and serves as a perfect complement to the ambitious, young business that is Calbee UK.

“We are firm believers in the power of iconic, local hero brands, and we aim to leverage these strengths for further expansion,”​ he added.

Seabrook will continue to operate as a standalone company, led by current CEO Jonathan Bye.

“It’s an exciting time as we embark on the next phase of our growth journey. We have ambitious plans and are looking forward to delivering these as part of the Calbee family,”​ said Bye.

Made in UK

The transaction was led by private equity firm LDC – part of the Lloyds Banking Group – which has supported the growth of Seabrook through new product development, investment in its manufacturing facilities and driving international sales opportunities since 2015.

“Seabrook is an iconic Northern brand and the team has capitalized on the increased demand for ‘made in the UK’ products, successfully taking their crisps to new fans worldwide,”​ said Ged Gould, senior director at LCD.

Bye added: “Since LDC invested in our business in July 2015 the team has gone above and beyond, partnering with us to invest in our facilities and prime the business for future growth.

“The team invested more than £5m into our site in Bradford and we now have excellent operational facilities that allow us to continue to produce great crisps.

“It’s only with their support that we have been able to outperform the crisp category with the Seabrook brand, won significant new private-label business and expanded overseas,” ​said Bye.

Global reach

Seabrook, which employs 160 staff, will continue to operate from its Bradford, Yorkshire, headquarters. The snack maker currently produces more than 250 million bags of chips annually, which are exported around the world, including new markets like UAE, China, France, Spain and Australia.

For the financial year ending March 2018, it recorded a pre-tax profit of $5m ($6.4m) on sales of £29.8m ($38.6m).

Calbee UK is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Calbee Inc. Its 80 UK employees operate from its factory in North Wales and a commercial office in Leeds.

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