Insights & News

Panicium acquires specialist bakery business Margaret Hall to accelerate growth

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A UK specialist bakery has announced plans to accelerate growth by joining a new baked goods group,  in a deal advised by BCMS.

Margaret Hall Ltd – which manufactures a diverse range of tarts, cakes and biscuits under its own brand ‘Margaret’s Country Kitchen’ and as white label – has joined Panicium Limited as part of their buy-and-build strategy to scale-up and acquire like-minded craft bakeries.

Margaret Hall started life in 1963 as a corner shop in Warwick by Ted and Margaret Hall and, with the help of Peter Walsh, had expanded to a chain of 15 retail shops by the 1990s. Peter's son and current shareholder, Jonathan Walsh, joined the business in 1991 and refocused the business away from direct retail to focus on manufacturing. Today, the Warwick-based bakery sells more than six million ambient and frozen tarts, biscuits and cakes every year to foodservice distributors and catering wholesalers. Panicium selected Margaret Hall as its first portfolio company in an ambitious buy-and-build strategy within the highly fragmented UK craft bakery sector.  

"The right ingredients for a successful partnership"

One of Panicium’s founding directors, Graham Norfolk, said: “Margaret Hall has all the right ingredients for a successful partnership, including great management, family values, product quality, a skilled workforce and top-rated food production site.

“Panicium now has a platform to combine other complementary craft bakeries into one group, in order to develop benefits from sales, marketing, distribution and purchasing. We really look forward to working with Jonathan and Charlotte and are confident that they will become a cornerstone of Panicium.”

Margaret Hall shareholders, Jonathan and Charlotte Walsh, will remain in the business and hold shares in Panicium.  They will also become part of the Panicium senior management team.

Managing Director Jonathan Walsh said: “Charlotte and I, and the rest of the team here, are passionate about what we do, and we are all very excited about what the future holds. Becoming part of Panicium means we can continue to innovate, expand our product range and grow our customer base in order to take Margaret Hall to the next level. After more than 25 years of hard work to get us in this position, this deal is exactly what we were looking for.”

BCMS advised Jonathan and Charlotte Walsh, with legal advice from Leamington Spa law firm, Blythe Liggins. The price and terms are undisclosed.

BCMS Lead Advisor Ilan Elfassy commented: “Jonathan and Charlotte were keen to seek investment to deliver a new growth strategy, which opened up a great opportunity to work with an innovative specialist investment firm. This sector is highly fragmented and in need of consolidation to improve efficiency, and we are looking forward to seeing Margaret Hall play a pivotal role in making that happen.”

Acorn Capital Partners advised Panicium with legal support from Gateley Plc.

Panicium is a buy and build vehicle run by Graham Norfolk and Peter Fields, both of whom have extensive expertise in building businesses in a number of sectors.


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Steve Murphy's picture
Posted Nov 2018
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