Kitwave acquires frozen specialist Eden Farm

Kitwave Wholesale Group, the independent Newcastle-based wholesaler of FMCG products, has this month added a seventh company to its portfolio, following the acquisition of specialist frozen food and ice cream wholesale and distribution Features > Business, Eden Farm.

Kitwave MD Paul Young claims the acquisition “fits well” within the Kitwave Group in terms of its operations and national geography. “Eden’s product offerings will broaden Kitwave’s range considerably, and increase our customer base to over 22,000″, he said.

Eden Farm, based in Peterlee, Hampshire, is a family-run business originally set up in 1964 with one minivan delivering its home-grown produce to customers. It has since grown into a five-depot operation with a national delivery network distributing top brands of frozen food and ice cream operating from Peterlee, Cambridge, Bradford, Cardiff and Glasgow. Since 2009, Eden Farm’s turnover has almost doubled reaching over £40m, and following this acquisition the combined turnover for the enlarged Kitwave group will be approaching £250m. The acquisition will also increase the Kitwave group’s staff numbers to over 450.

“Eden’s MD, Frank Stephenson, and I have known each other for a number of years and we are delighted with the acquisition,” commented Young. “Eden Farm is a natural fit for the group — increasing Kitwave’s product range and providing a wider customer reach across the UK. Frank was keen to become part of a larger group, and Eden will continue to succeed and grow with the Kitwave Group behind it.”

Kitwave was established in 1987 as an acquisition vehicle set up to purchase the small confectionery wholesale Features > Business, M amp;M Value. The business further expanded by acquiring Turner amp; Wrights, FW Bishop amp; Son and Westone Wholesale. NVM Private Equity (NVM) supported Kitwave in 2011 with £7.5m of investment to support its acquisition strategy.

Young and his team have since acquired Anderson Wholesale, Automatic Retailing, Teatime Tasties and now Eden.

Mauro Biagioni, director of NVM, added: “Kitwave’s acquisition strategy is going exactly to plan since we invested three years ago, and Eden Farm will further complement Kitwave’s strategic portfolio of businesses. We are delighted that Frank will join the Kitwave board, where they will benefit from his industry expertise. Paul and the team are keen to make further acquisitions across their industry to continue to grow in a fragmented market.”

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