Empire World Trade sold to UNIVEG Group

EWT logo

Clearwater Advisor

Press Release

Clearwater International has advised Empire World Trade, a leading UK importer and distributor of top fruit, on its cross-border sale to UNIVEG Group.

Empire World Trade is a major player in the UK top fruit market and a key supplier to the big retailers including Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons. Established 18 years ago, the company has a turnover of over £80m and is based in Lincolnshire.

Belgian UNIVEG Group is a worldwide supplier of fresh produce, active in the fields of Fruit & Vegetables, Flowers & Plants, Convenience products, Transport & Logistics.

This is the fourth transaction that Clearwater International has advised the business on: the team were involved in the original MBO of Empire World Trade with 3i in the 1990s, a subsequent equity raise which also involved 3i and the sale of the company to a secondary management buyout team backed by Livingbridge in 2008.

“Having advised us on our original MBO in 1997 and the subsequent investment by Livingbridge, Clearwater International were the natural choice as advisors to us for this transaction – particularly given the likely international flavour of the deal. They continue to deliver hands on, senior level input to the transaction with an excellent level of attention to the detail.”

David Pratt, CEO, Empire World Trade

“The acquisition of Empire World Trade fits with UNIVEG’s strategic focus and development of the UK market place. The joining of these businesses has potential for building significant market share.”

Phil Burns, Partner, Clearwater International