UK – Greencore Group , a leading international manufacturer of convenience foods, has completed the acquisition of Freshtime UK, a supplier of food-to-go salads, chilled snacks and prepared produce for £56 million ($68.22m).

Freshtime’s products are distributed primarily in the grocery and convenience channels and the business operates from a single facility in Boston, Lincolnshire.

In 2018, Freshtime generated revenues of £66 million ($80.4m) and profit before tax of £5.6 million ($6.82m).

Greencore, which already distributes a large proportion of Freshtime’s products, said the acquisition will be funded by existing debt facilities.

 The group said that the deal would leave it with moderate debt levels and would start delivering modest profit in the 2020 financial year.

Greencore said, the acquisition would extend its presence in food-to-go salads and chilled snacking and Freshtime’s strong customer base was highly complementary to the Group’s existing portfolio.

Patrick Coveney, chief executive of Greencore added, “Freshtime is an excellent strategic fit for Greencore.

“It is a business and a customer set that we know very well and it provides us with an exciting opportunity to enhance our product offering, add further capacity to our manufacturing network and help drive growth and value for shareholders.

“We look forward very much to welcoming the Freshtime team to Greencore,” he added.

Earlier this year, Coveney said the sandwich-making group would likely undertake “quite a bit” of acquisition activity in the UK over the next three-to-five years as it looks to consolidate after its unexpected exit from the US in 2018.

Greencore has 16 manufacturing sites in the UK manufactures approximately 706 million sandwiches and other food-to-go products, 144 million chilled prepared meals and 226 million bottles of cooking sauces, pickles and condiments.

Headquartered in Dublin, the group carries out around 7,500 deliveries to stores each day and employs 11,800 people.

In the six months to March 2019, Greencore reported growth in pre-tax and operating profit, while group revenue fell 4.6% to £701.4m (US$854.44 million)

This followed the sale of its US business in November to contract manufacturer to an affiliate of Hearthside Food Solutions for US$1.08 billion as it now aims to focus on growth in the UK.