Consumer sector comment – November 2011


The Christmas shopping is all but complete and the retailers will be cashing up the tills to see how business has been. 2011 has been a challenging year for many and for some Christmas trading will be poor as some businesses struggle to adapt to new ways of operating driven by the internet or outdated formats and product ranges. But there will be many who have continued to perform well attracting customers and ultimately investors and trade acquirers – the recent acquisition of Wiggle by Bridgepoint is testament to that.

So for now, its time to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a successful new year.


Baxters Food Group Ltd, the UK based holding company with subsidiaries engaged in the manufacturing, sales, marketing, and distribution of food groceries products, has acquired Fray Bentos, the UK based tinned pie brand which operates as a separate entity from Princes Limited, the UK based company engaged in supply of canned food and drinks, for £30m. This acquisition will provide an array of opportunities to develop Baxters position in the UK market and internationally. The transaction will also create new job opportunities and capital investment at Baxters head quarters. Post acquisition, Baxters will transfer production of Fray Bentos products to its headquarters at Fochabers in Moray and will revitalize the brand.

Lifetime Brands Inc, the listed US based designer, marketer and distributor of household cutlery, kitchenware, cutting boards, pantryware and bakeware, has acquired Creative Tops Ltd, the UK based manufacturer and supplier of design-led tableware and giftware, for an undisclosed consideration. Creative Tops reported turnover of $42.3m for the year ended 31 March 2011. The acquisition will provide Lifetime with a multifaceted opportunity and broaden its geographic scope. It will also accelerate the growth of Lifetime and enable it to introduce top brands in the European, Asian and South African markets. The transaction will have a positive effect on the growth and profitability of Creative Tops, thereby enabling it to expand into new marketing channels. The strategic acquisition will broaden and diversify the product portfolio of Creative Tops.

SBG Restaurants Ltd has acquired Livebait Manchester, the Manchester, UK-based restaurant from Paramount Restaurants Ltd for an undisclosed consideration. Ms Ellen O’Donnell and the team will stay at the restaurant, which SBG will continue to operate under the Livebait name. Paramount is currently in administration and is being run by Deloitte. SBG is currently looking to buy more restaurants.

Brasserie Bar Co Ltd, the UK based company operating restaurants, and a portfolio of Core Capital Partners, the US based private equity firm, has acquired Groupe Chez Gerard plc, the UK based company that owns and operates group of restaurants and bars, for £9m. The acquisition also includes central London Chez Gerard sites. Brasserie Bar will invest £4m in Groupe Chez through a rolling program which is expected to completed in 2012.

Capital Shopping Centres Group Plc, the listed based UK based developer, owner and manager of regional shopping centres, has acquired 75% stake in Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, the UK based shopping centre from Westfield Group for a cash consideration of £55m. The sale was made by Westfield in order to focus on major iconic regeneration schemes.

Sojourn Hotel Group, the UK based company engaged in development and management of hotels, has acquired Wembley Plaza Hotel, the UK based hotel, from Quintain Estates & Development Plc, the listed UK based property investment and development company, for £GBP 15m. The transaction is in line with the Sojourn’s investment strategy of acquiring assets that provide the opportunity for growth. The sale is in line with the Quintain’s development strategy for the next two years. Quintain plans to release capital from value added assets and focus on the core leisure and entertainment elements of the scheme. The transaction is expected to be completed by June 2012.

Genting Casinos UK Ltd, the UK based casino operator and a subsidiary of Genting Malaysia Berhad, the listed Malaysia based provider of leisure and hospitality services, has acquired Fox Poker Club Limited, the UK based poker club, for £7.75m. FPC has 80 employees. Genting Casinos financed the acquisition from its internally-generated funds and will not assume any liabilities.