Founded in 1984, the B Corp company has established itself as a premier co-manufacture of functional products for weight management, sports nutrition, toddler snacking, healthy indulgence, vegan-friendly, digestive health and mainstream better-for-you brands, along with its own brands Brynmor, Nine and Bounce.
Based in Chester, the company also manages two BRC AA-accredited production facilities situated in North Wales.
“For the past 30 years, Wholebake has worked closely with its brand partners to create great tasting and healthy snacks, and firmly established itself as a major employer in the local community,” said Peter Unsworth, chairman of Healthfull.
“We now look forward to the next chapter in the Wholebake story with our new partners, Elysian Capital. Their values and culture strongly align with our own and we are delighted that they will be partnering with us in Wholebake’s next phase of growth.”
Changing consumer tastes
The deal represents the second investment in the past month from the Elysian Capital III LP Fund, which closed in September 2020 at £325m. The private equity fund specialises in the UK and Ireland lower mid-market, providing the full range of entrepreneurial and business operational competence with an experienced private equity and leveraged debt capability.
According to Ken Terry, partner at Elysian Capital, the snack bar market is a highly attractive and growing space as consumers continue to transition away from traditional confectionery into tasty and healthier alternatives.
“Wholebake is the go-to co-manufacturer for brands and retailed own label in the UK. We have been highly impressed by the team culture and community feel Peter and Simon [Faithfull, Healthfull’s CEO] have fostered, and the strength and calibre of the people across the whole organisation. Elysian are very pleased to be supporting the team as they continue to grow the business’s branded and own label offerings.”
B Corp certification
Oliver Wyncoll, who led the investment for Bridges, added, “We are delighted by the strong progress Wholebake has made since Bridges invested: revenues have tripled, many high-quality jobs have been created and the business has achieved B Corp certification.
“We firmly believe the business is very well-positioned for continued success in the coming years; so we are pleased to have the opportunity to remain as a minority investor, supporting the business and Elysian in the next exciting period of growth.”
Elysian Capital was advised by Stephenson Harwood (legal); Aon (insurance); ERM (environmental); EY (financial); BDO (tax); Spayne Lindsay (corporate finance); and Food Strategy Associates (commercial and operations).
Wholebake and Bridges Fund Management were advised by Grant Thornton, Ernst & Young and Addleshaw Goddard LLP.
Working capital facilities were provided by Barclays Bank.