Oils business The Kerfoot Group bought by French firm

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The Kerfoot Group has been bought by a specialist proteins company based in France.

The £74m-turnover family-owned business, which is headquartered in Northallerton and employs 113 people, has accepted a takeover offer from The Avril Group.

Saipol, a subsidiary of Avril that specialises in vegetable oils, will expand into the UK as a result of the acquisition.

Avril said the financial details of the transaction will not be disclosed. However, it confirmed the Kerfoot family will retain a shareholding in the firm and will be involved in its future.

The Kerfoot Group chairman and founder David Kerfoot said: “In recent years, we have made major changes that have favoured the group’s growth and allowed it to occupy a unique place in the British market.

“These ties with Avril are wholly integral to the development of our activities and ambitions for the future.”

The Kerfoot Group was founded in 1980 and specialises in packaging and distributing bulk and packaged edible oils, speciality oils and fats. Its primary sector is the food service market, but it also supplies the personal care, restaurant and catering industries.

Saipol produces and sells refined vegetable oils that are used for foods, protein-rich animal feeds and biodiesel in France.

The merger follows a long-standing supply partnership between Avril and The Kerfoot Group, as Saipol has supplied British business with rapeseed and sunflower oils since the firm’s launch.

Jean-Philippe Puig, chief executive of Avril: “For the past 35 years, The Kerfoot Group has grown considerably while remaining faithful to the entrepreneurial spirit and customer service ethos that drove its creation.

“Together, we share the same values and the same vision for the oils and proteins sector.

“Avril is particularly proud of this new stage in its international development, which offers new growth prospects for our activities in the UK.”