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How Tangerine Confectionery pulled off astonishing 65% profit growth

07 February 2011

A confectionery producer was the only food company in the Top 20 firms featured in the Sunday Times Buyout Track 100 league table, which ranks Britain's mid-market private-equity-backed companies with the fastest-growing profits over the past two years. So how did it do it?

Companies had to be registered in the UK and be independent, unquoted and ultimate holding companies. At least 20% of a company's equity must be owned by a private-equity fund.

Three companies made it into the Top 100: confectionery maker, Tangerine Confectionery (placed 20, up from 47); food producer and distributor Adelie Food (47); and value food retailer Frozen Value (67, down from 36).

Blackpool-based Tangerine Confectionery had an annual profit growth of 65.14%. The company, which employs 1,343, is 41% owned by Growth Capital Partners. Management has 40% shares while others make up the remaining 19%.

On its website, it describes itself as a confectionery manufacturer with one of the industry's most diverse ranges of traditional and contemporary confectionery.

It says within the past three years its turnover has increased from more than £40 million to £150 million and continues to grow in line with the popularity of its products. ''This mass appeal, along with seven UK production sites, makes us the largest independent sugar confectionery manufacturer in the UK,'' the company says.

''I believe Tangerine has been successful because it has an unrivalled range of sugar confectionery products, encompassing some of the most iconic brands in confectionery including Barratt Sherbet Fountain and Barratt Dip Dabs,'' chairman Stephen Joseph told Food Processing. ''Tangerine also makes the nation's favourite popcorn, Butterkist, which now has over 60% market share.

''We're focussed on offering high quality and value for money, supplying everyone from the UK's leading high street food retailers to corner shops. We also have an active NPD programme, as evidenced by launches such as Henry Goode's soft eating liquorice, which has become the number one brand just 18 months after its launch, and the recent launch of Butterkist milk chocolate coated toffee popcorn."

Adelie Food, based in Milton Keynes, and with 3,248 employees, saw a 39.97% annual profit growth. The company was born out of a shared a vision to create the best 'Food for Now' business and it started building Adelie by acquiring several other businesses in the industry.

''Today we're on the way to achieving our vision, being recognised by our customers as a leading supplier offering a compelling blend of market knowledge, ideas and fantastic products,'' the company says. ''Our range is unparalleled and includes sandwiches, paninis, wraps, toasties, prepared fruits, chilled snacks, quiche and salads which we supply to leading supermarkets, coffee shops, high street retailers and customers in the travel sector and food service.

Barnsley-based Frozen Value, meanwhile, saw a 29.78% annual profit growth.


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