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UK confectionery wholesaler Hancocks sold to private equity firm

By Oliver Nieburg , 23-Nov-2012
Last updated on 24-Nov-2012 at 08:44 GMT

Hancocks sells products from leading manufacturers and also produces its own-brands
Hancocks sells products from leading manufacturers and also produces its own-brands

The UK’s leading confectionery wholesaler Hancocks Group has been sold to H2 Equity Partners for around £50m ($78m).

Hancocks is a UK cash and carry wholesaler that stocks goods from leading manufacturers such as Haribo and sells them to small retailers.

The business, which claims £100m ($159m) in annual sales, also sells its own label under the Kingsway brand.

Continues own-label development

Simon Gilbert of H2 Equity Partners said of Hancocks: “The business has a strong management team in place and is a great platform to build from. We shall use our significant experience in wholesaling businesses to assist Management in taking the company to the next level.”

H2 plans to expand Hancocks’ national depot network, develop branded and own-label ranges and grow online activities.

Former owners Andrew and Adrian Hancock have stood down from the company following the sale. The company was set-up in 1962 by the brothers’ father.

CEO keeps position

Hancocks said that it was business as usual and supplier arrangements to customers remained in place.

Mark Watson, who retains his position as CEO of Hancocks said: “I am delighted to be leading such a strong company that has the prospect of becoming a much bigger player within confectionery wholesaling.”

Funding

Investec provided H2 with a financing package to secure Hancocks.

Bank and asset manager Investec exited its investment in the UK confectionery market in 2011 after it sold shares in the snack producer Big Bear Group to Finnish manufacturer Raisio for £82m ($131m).

James Stirling of Investec said: “This is an attractive deal for us. Hancocks occupies a clear leadership position in a niche market and it offers a clear value-proposition to its customer base."

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