Sun Takes a Shine to Britton Group

Kevin Feddy

The European arm of US investment giant Sun Capital Partners has wrapped up a deal worth nearly £90m to buy packaging business Britton Group.

Sun European Partners said it plans to invest in Britton to expand the company, which it described as a strong strategic fit with its packaging businesses on the continent.

The MEN revealed earlier this year how private equity firms were vying to acquire Britton, which employs around 650 people across three sites and had also attracted interest from trade buyers.

Britton has its headquarters in Winsford, Cheshire, and further factories in Louth, Lincolnshire, and Hartlepool.

It makes flexible packaging supplied to customers in sectors including consumer goods, banking, healthcare, construction and technology.

Products include the bags inside boxes of breakfast cereals and those used by banks to transport cash as well as plastic shrink wrap film on multi–packs of food and drinks.

Britton turned over £125m in the year to last April and posted underlying pre–tax profits of £11.2m.

The business was bought for £77m from private equity outfit LDC by HSBC Principal Investments in March 2008.

Richard Pulford, managing director of DC Advisory Partners, who advised Britton and its shareholders, said: “Britton is an excellent business that has benefited as an HSBC portfolio company and traded exceptionally well during the economic downturn. Under its new ownership it is well–placed to further enhance its international positioning.”

Mike Clark, chief executive at Britton Group, said: “This transaction represents a significant step forwards for Britton as it brings with it further investment and an owner with expertise within the sector to facilitate further growth. We also hope to realise significant synergies with the other businesses which Sun European Partners owns in the sector to build a very strong pan–European flexibles business.”

Sun has bought more than six packaging firms across Europe and the US in the past 12 months and Philippe Neuschaefer, vice president of Sun European Partners, said Britton was an excellent strategic fit.

“We look forward to working with management to further enhance Britton’s leading market position within the global packaging market,” he added.

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