IK Investment Partners announced that the IK Small Cap II Fund has acquired a majority stake in Forthglade Foods Limited alongside management. This is the first investment by IK’s newly established UK team. Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.
Forthglade is a fast-growing UK based natural pet food brand, producing premium wet and dry dog food and treats. The company was founded in 1971 and has been led by Gerard Lovell and Chris Brooking since their management buyout in 2011 and subsequent investment by Piper in 2015. IK will acquire a majority stake in Forthglade, with the management team reinvesting alongside.
Based in Okehampton, Devon, Forthglade employs over 130 people in the UK, and distributes across supermarkets, independent specialist pet retailers and online retailers including its own website (www.forthglade.com). Forthglade’s award-winning recipes are valued by customers for their natural ingredients, high meat content, gentle cooking methods, and grain free recipes. Backed by the increasing demand for quality natural pet food and following strategic investments in production processes, marketing, and operations, Forthglade has grown branded sales by over 30% per annum in the last three years and is set to generate over GBP22 million in sales in the year to September 2020. The company has seen sales accelerate ahead of plan throughout the lockdown period.
The company recently opened a state-of-the art factory in Devon, which produces the business’ natural wet dog food and has significant additional capacity to support future growth. Forthglade has also successfully launched ranges of cold pressed natural dry food and hand baked dog treats, which are key growth areas for the company. With IK’s investment, Forthglade plans to increase brand awareness and distribution to drive growth in the UK and overseas. IK will also support Forthglade’s ongoing digital development, as well as further expansion in the business’ product range and growth in its manufacturing capabilities.
The transaction represents the 10th investment from IK’s €550 million Small Cap II Fund. The investment in Forthglade marks a significant milestone for IK’s recently formed UK Small Cap team as they seek to deploy capital in the UK market across IK’s four core sectors: Business Services, Consumer/Food, Engineered Products and Healthcare.
Gerard Lovell, Joint Managing Director of Forthglade commented: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Piper whose support and expertise have been invaluable in helping us achieve so much. We are delighted to partner with IK for the next stage of our growth. With their experience across food production and animal health and an established Pan-European footprint, they are well placed to help us grow our offering and enter new markets. We have exciting plans ahead as we look to expand our success in wet into cold pressed and treats, and we see a strong runway for growth ahead.”
Tom Salmon, Partner at IK and advisor to the IK Small Cap II Fund, commented: “Forthglade is an excellent business and a great fit for our investment strategy. We have been very impressed with the achievements of Gerard, Chris and the rest of team in growing the business in recent years, and we are delighted to be backing them in the first investment made by IK’s new UK investment team. The market for natural pet food in the UK is particularly strong and resilient, and we see significant further growth potential for Forthglade in the UK and beyond in the years to come. With our strong track record in supporting growing food production and animal health companies, we look forward to similar success with Forthglade.”