Tayto-related company Montagu in multi-million deal

Montagu Group buys Freedom Refreshments in a move into British vending sector

The acquisition will give the Montagu Group access to nearly 7,000 vending machines across England

The Montagu Group, which is a sister company of the Tandragee-headquartered crisps and snacks company Tayto in the North, has bought a Leeds-based vending firm in an undisclosed multi-million pound deal.

The Montagu Group’s acquisition of Freedom Refreshments, which has been operating for more than 50 years and has an annual turnover in the region of £16 million, signals a move into the British vending sector for the Northern Ireland company and will also include the company’s subsidiaries LTT Vending, espresso PLUS and NIVO.

Tayto, which has been in business for 60 years and is still privately owned by its founding family, the Hutchinsons, has been on an acquisition trail recently.

Last month it bought London-based Tavern Snacks and also acquired 75 per cent of Devon-based company, Portlebay Popcorn – the first popcorn snack in its brand portfolio which includes Tayto, Golden Wonder, Mr Porky, REAL Crisps and Jonathan Crisp.

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With its headquarters in Tayto Castle, County Armagh, the group currently produces more than 25 million bags of snacks and crisps each week across its six sites in Tandragee, Corby, Scunthorpe, Westhoughton, Wolverhampton and Devon which, in total, employ around 1500 people.

Paul Allen, chief executive of the Montagu Group, said the purchase of a vending business in Britain is the next step in the group's growth plans.

"Within the last 12 years, Tayto Group has grown exponentially, increasing turnover from £19 million a year to around £180 million. The new acquisitions will pave the way for further expedited growth.

“While we have a strong share of the vending market in Northern Ireland, we only had limited reach into GB and this deal will enable us to increase our presence significantly within this sector. The people at Freedom are experts at what they do, continually developing their brand and subsidiaries through both organic growth and acquisitions.”

The acquisition will give the Montagu Group access to nearly 7,000 vending machines across England.

Freedom Refreshments was also a family-run company prior to its sale and Edward Selka, a former partner and owner of Freedom Refreshments, believes the Montagu Group takeover will give its 160 workers a "secure future".

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business