Spooner Vicars planning pharma expansion

Related tags Management

A major food equipment manufacturer has announced plans to expand
into pharmaceutical equipment and processing, following its
purchase from Italian owners CIR last month.

Merseyside, UK-based Spooner Vicars has been bought for an undisclosed sum by Avalanche Holdings, owned by the engineering entrepreneurs Bruce Stimpson and Wayne Poteet, both of whom have extensive experience in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.

The company employs 111 staff in Earlestown, St Helens and has a turnover of £22 million (€18.5m). Two thirds of the company's food equipment production is exported for clients such as Nabisco, Campbell, Kraft and United Biscuits. Now the company is developing plans to expand into pharmaceutical equipment and processing.

"We are looking at growing Avalanche into a £200m group within the next three to five years through acquisition and growth in food and pharmaceutical processing and equipment,"​ said Stimpson.

"We're innovators and it will be innovation, together with our highly skilled workforce, that will drive the company forward,"​ he added.

The deal, which took two years to complete, sees the business debt-free and in a position to invest. "We see a lot of opportunity to approach our market differently and we're very focused as a team on new ways to push the business forward," said Mr. Stimpson.

Spooner Vicars' production lines enable manufacturers to innovate in the development of their product ranges, as well as minimise wastage. To date, the business has been active in a wide range of market sectors, including biscuits, cookies, crackers, pet food, bread, buns, cakes, wafers and pizza bases.

"There's a great mood among the team,"​ said Stimpson. "We know we can achieve a lot more now that there's investment funding available and everyone's focused on how we achieve success."

Three key managerial changes have been made since the buy-out, with Bruce Stimpson taking over as managing director, Wayne Poteet as senior director and Sean Bibby as financial director. David Barnwell (sales director), David Hamilton (operations and customer support director) and Andrew James (engineering and purchasing director) also retain their positions.

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