Yorkshire-based Seabrook crisps set for global growth after gaining new owner

SEABROOK Crisps is set to win more customers in the UK and overseas after being snapped up by a subsidiary of a Japanese snack food maker.

Seabrook is set to enjoy further growth under its new owners. Photograph by Richard Walker / www.imagenorth.net

Mid-market private equity investor LDC has completed the sale of Bradford-based Seabrook, to Calbee (UK) Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Calbee UK is the subsidiary of the Japanese-based $2.3bn, global snack company, Calbee Inc. Its 80 UK employees operate from its factory in North Wales and a commercial office in Leeds.

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Seabrook, which employs around 160 people, will continue to operate from its Bradford base, led by chief executive Jonathan Bye. Mr Bye praised LDC for its investment in Seabrook’s manufacturing facilities and the support it had provided that had allowed the company to launch new products and expand internationally.

Mr Bye told The Yorkshire Post: “Calbee has a record of investing long term in businesses and brands. It couldn’t be a better outcome.”

Mr Bye said he hoped to increase staffing levels as the firm grows. He said the backing from Calbee would help the business to increase its market share in the UK and overseas, where it was already attracting sales in Asia and the Middle East.

He added: “We still know that we can sell significantly more of Seabrook’s crisps in the UK.”

He stressed that Seabrook is aiming for long, term sustainable growth under its new owners.

He added: “It’s an exciting time for our people, customers and suppliers as we embark on the next phase of our growth journey. We have ambitious plans and are looking forward to delivering these as part of the Calbee family.

Richard Robinson, managing director of Calbee UK, said: “We are hugely excited by the obvious fit that Seabrook represents for us in bringing the mainstream snack of potato-based crisps into our product portfolio.”

Ged Gould of LDC added: “Seabrook is an iconic Northern brand and the team has capitalised on the increased demand for made in the UK products, successfully taking their crisps to new fans worldwide.”

Calbee UK were advised by Spayne Lindsay & Co, KPMG and Walker Morris. LDC and Seabrook management were advised by Houlihan Lokey and Addleshaw Goddard.

LDC backed the management buyout of Seabrook in July 2015 to support its growth.

Seabrook produces a range of crinkle cut, straight cut and lattice crisps, as well as low-calorie snacks, from its headquarters in Bradford.

Today it produces more than 250 million bags of crisps a year, which are enjoyed by consumers worldwide after the company entered new markets, including the United Arab Emirates, China and France.

For the financial year ending March 2018, Seabrook recorded revenues of £29.8m.