Italy’s Newlat Food to expand presence in UK with acquisition of branded meal and snack maker Symington

UK – Italian food company Newlat Food has agreed to purchase UK-based branded meal and snack manufacturer, Symington’s Group in an effort to consolidate its presence in the region. 

Founded in 1827, Symington’s operates three production plants and one distribution centre across northern England 

The company supplies branded and own-label foods including soups under the Mug Shot brand, Twistd couscous and rice-based meals, and Ragu pasta sauces. 

Other brands in Symington’s portfolio include Naked instant noodles, The Hungry Elephant meal kits, and Chicken Tonight sauces – which are sold mainly in the UK, US and Australia. 

The acquisition for a total consideration of £53 million (US$63 million) will see Newlat Food utilise Symington’s UK-wide distribution platform and retailer partnerships to expand its market position, particularly for the distribution of pasta and bakery products. 

Enhancing its presence in UK’s pasta market would be timely as the product has experienced a soaring demand thanks to newcomers to cooking who often choose pasta because it is so easy to cook with a simple sauce. 

As a result, WM Strategy forecasts the pasta market in the United Kingdom to increase at a CAGR of 2.51% per annum for the period 2020-2025 to reach US$882.72 million (in retail prices).  

Upon completion of the transaction, Newland will internalize the production of the Birkel Minuto instant noodles range that is sold in Germany and plans to expand the product’s reach.  

The Italian firm will also supply Symington’s with approximately 6,000 tons of pasta which are currently being provided by third parties. 

The deal is in line with Newlat’s strategic plan to further strengthen its presence outside Italy and allow it to reach consolidate revenues in excess of €630 million (US$744.75 million).  

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The company was previously interested in purchasing UK bakery Hovis, but the bread maker was finally divested to private equity firm Endless. 

In the last two years, Symington’s has generated recurring revenues of £105 million (US$124 million), and the food manufacturer plans to launch over 100 new products between 2021 and 2024. 

As a result of the acquisition, Newlat estimates cost synergies amounting to €10 million (US$12 million) to be realized by the end of 2022. 

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