Woodward Foodservice’s management team has led a buyout of the £180m turnover business from its former owners.
Chester-based Woodward was part of the Big Food Group plc, which also included Booker, before being taken private by a consortium of investors including Baugur earlier this year.
The management team, led by chief executive Ed Hyslop, has taken a significant equity stake in the Features > Business, with the backing of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance and Icelandic investment groups Baugur and Talden.
Hyslop said: “Woodward has always been a fast-moving player in the foodservice market. Our new independence gives us greater autonomy and the freedom to make quick decisions with the backing of Lloyds TSB and the ongoing support from our co-investors, who have retained a sizeable stake in Woodward.
“This is a sign that they believe the management can significantly grow the company and return value to its shareholders.
“We operate in a market that has been dominated by two major players. Woodward is in an ideal position to grow market share and provide an alternative, innovative and efficient service to caterers on a national basis.
“Our future growth plans are ambitious but achievable. The strategy to achieve our aims is based on continued strong organic growth, as well as the potential for future acquisitions.”
Woodward Foodservice has increased turnover from £96m to over £150m in the last two years, and is expected to hit £180m this year. It employs 1,100 people at 14 distribution sites across the UK.
The company has announced plans to invest in a new warehouse management and stock replenishment system that will improve the efficiency and capability of its national distribution network.
Hyslop has been managing director of Woodward for the last four years. He led supermarket chain Iceland’s original acquisition of the then north west family owned Woodward in 1997 – which at that time had a turnover of £12m.