Lancashire biscuit maker Fox's to be sold to Italian confectionery giant

A Lancashire biscuit maker is being sold in a £246m deal to Italian sweet treats group Ferrero.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 9:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 2:51 pm

Fox's Biscuits in Whitworth Street, Wesham, in April put out an appeal for more staff as demand for comfort foods soared amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Now those staff are set to be employed by holding company CTH related to the firm which makes Ferrero Roche chocolates as it broadens its global product market.

Fox's current owners the 2 Sisters Food Group today confirmed it has entered into an agreement to sell part of its Fox’s Biscuits business to a Ferrero-related Company for £246m.

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Fox's Biscuits' Wesham factory

2 Sisters will retain one factory in Uttoxeter which produces own-label biscuits for major retailers, but it will sell its Fox's-branded Kirkham and Batley sites.

Fox's makes household names such as Rocky Bars, Party Rings, Crunch Creams, Crinkle Creams, Chocolatey and Viennese, as well as making own-label biscuits and selection boxes for major retail outlets.

Ferrero Group is the world’s third largest chocolate and confectionery business which has diversified into new sectors as it expands its global portfolio, while Ferrero and its related Company represents now the second player in worldwide sweet biscuits market.

The purchase of Fox’s will be the second European biscuit acquisition within 12 months by a Ferrero-related Company.

Staff at Fox's Biscuits are to have new bosses as Italian giant Ferrero buys the business from the 2 Sisters Group

Ranjit Singh, President of Boparan Holdings Ltd, said: “Fox’s Biscuits has always been an attractive brand and as one of only two major independent biscuit makers in the UK, it is a prized asset in this market.

“We have listened to many interested parties over the years, but we have always been clear that Fox’s would only be sold to the right new home, at the right time and for the right value. This sale represents another significant deal for us, underlining our commitment to our business turnaround.

“It strengthens our balance sheet even further and shows we are following through with our promises to focus on our key strengths. I wish all colleagues at the two Fox’s Biscuits sites every future success with an ambitious new owner.”

Ronald Kers, CEO of Boparan Holdings Ltd, said: “This sale is in line with our strategy and is further good news as we build on two years of strong turnaround momentum and continue to focus on our core business. It strengthens our liquidity position and reduces our leverage ahead of our planned refinance of the business.

“We believe the sale to Ferrero is not only beneficial for 2 Sisters Food Group, but it means a positive future for the Fox’s brand with an owner who has a compatible culture and a global reputation for high-quality branded chocolate and biscuit products.”

The formal completion of the sale is expected on 31st October 2020.

Rothschild and Co acted as sole financial adviser to 2 Sisters on the disposal.

A spokesman for the Italian group said: "The Ferrero-related company acquired Fox’s as we believe there is significant scope to grow the business, building on its history in the British biscuits’ market and leading position in every segment of the biscuits’ category.

"Through this acquisition, and our two previous acquisitions of Biscuits Delacre and Kelsen Group, we expect to increase our relevance in the rich and fine biscuits category.”