Burton’s Foods

Manufacturer of biscuits, confectionery and snacks in the United Kingdom

The Burton’s story is about great British brands and great British biscuits that have been lovingly baked in the United Kingdom since 1935. Burton’s portfolio of branded biscuits included four of the leading biscuit brands in the UK – Cadbury Fingers, Wagon Wheels, Maryland Cookies and Jammie Dodgers, in addition to serving as a leading supplier of private label biscuits across the UK. The Company markets its treats through traditional grocery retailers as well as independent shops, petrol forecourts, trains, and planes. At the time of exit, Burton’s operated five manufacturing facilities in the UK and one in Ireland.

The Value Creation Opportunity

Following the 1999 acquisition of Premier (formerly the grocery business of Hillsdown Holdings), the Kainos team initiated a strategic review of Premier’s biscuits division, Horizon Biscuits. Viewing the UK Biscuit market as one the most attractive in the global biscuits category, the Kainos team identified the opportunity to create a highly strategic asset by acquiring Burton’s Biscuits from Associated British Foods in October 2000 and merging it together with Horizon Biscuits under the company name Burton’s Foods.  Through these two transactions, Burton’s became a strong number two player in the UK biscuit market with sufficient scale to compete with the market leader, creating a more rational, efficient industry that would ultimately enjoy higher manufacturing efficiency and improved pricing discipline.

Change Capital at Work

Working closely with the CEO of Burton’s Foods, Adrian Sharpe, we assisted in revitalizing the Burton’s senior management team, hiring a new Finance Director, Sales Director, and other key leadership roles. The new management team successfully integrated the two businesses, Burton’s and Horizon, and identified synergies that could be achieved through the integration of the operating and administrative functions of the combined businesses. The Kainos team was able to meaningfully expand the new product development opportunities available to the Company through the successful re‐negotiation of license agreements with the top biscuit brands to allow the use of their brands on a broader range of products.

The Kainos team also worked closely with Burton’s Foods to structure and negotiate two small strategic add-on acquisitions in the UK.   The first add-on, UK manufacturer Gray Dunn, enabled Burton’s to expand its wafer production capacity for chocolate biscuit bars, and the second add-on, Biscuit Makers Ltd., an Irish manufacturer with a highly efficient production facility, enabled the Company to realize purchasing and cost synergies.

The Kainos Effect

The Company was sold in 2007.

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