Valeo Foods buys British jerked meat maker

Irish group makes its 19th acquisition, weeks away from its own €1.7bn sale to Bain Capital

Valeo Foods chief executive Seamus Kearney, who sees opportunities in ‘on-trend protein snacks’ for the group.  Photograph: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography

Valeo Foods chief executive Seamus Kearney, who sees opportunities in ‘on-trend protein snacks’ for the group. Photograph: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography

 

Dublin-headquartered Valeo Foods, which is in the process of being sold to US investors for €1.7 billion, has agreed a deal to buy a UK supplier of dried meat-based snacks such as beef jerky.

Valeo, whose main brands include Odlums flour and Batchelors canned peas and beans, is buying New World Foods Europe (NWFE) from Australian-based brand guru, Tony Quinn. NWFE includes Meatsnacks Group, which sells its products under brands such as Wild West.

Valeo did not reveal the purchase price but NWFE employs about 120 staff at two plants in England and Scotland and has annual revenues of about £25 million (€29.5 million). It will become part of Valeo’s snacking division which includes Kettle Foods, Tangerine Confectionary, Big Bear and It’s All Good.

The deal when completed will be the 19th acquisition in a little over a decade by Valeo, whose roster also includes Irish ambient food brands such as Jacob’s biscuits. Initially focused on the Irish and UK markets, in recent years it has expanded through buyouts across Europe. Its most recent such deal was in January when it bought German company Schluckwerder, a confectionery manufacturer known for its Lübeck marzipan sweets.

Mitt Romney

Valeo is currently owned by Cavan financier Seamus Fitzpatrick’s Capvest group, while its chief executive is former Aer Lingus executive Seamus Kearney. Bain Capital, the US private equity group co-founded by politician Mitt Romney, has agreed a deal to buy the entire group from Capvest. Valeo said on Monday that it expects this transaction to close within “weeks”.

“The acquisition of NWFE adds a new and very strong dimension to our snacking business,” said Mr Kearney. Valeo has, until now, focused on ambient foods and confectionery but Mr Kearney said it now sees opportunities in “on-trend protein snacks”.

NWFE said the buyout by Valeo would help it expand internationally and in the convenience market, while it would also benefit from “a more holistic and localised ownership”.

The seller of NWFE, Mr Quinn, is originally from Scotland but made his fortune as a dealmaker in the Australian market.