Private equity firm invests In Cheshire head-quartered dairy products group

A dairy products group which was founded in 1992 and has sites in Cheshire, Peterborough and North Yorkshire has secured investment from the private equity backer of a number of well-known brands.

Meadow Foods supplies manufacturers in sectors such as prepared foods, confectionery and ice cream.

The investment from Exponent, which has acquired the shareholding of Paine Schwartz Partner, will support Meadow Foods’ strategy to grow the business through both organic expansion and acquisitions having achieved substantial growth under Paine Schwartz, following its initial investment in September 2016.

The Chantler family’s shareholding in the business will continue.

Since Paine Schwartz’s investment, Meadow Foods has made strategic acquisitions in Roil Foods Ltd and Fayrefield Liquids, as well as having made capital investments into its manufacturing capabilities; increasing capacity on its core lines and enabling the launch of new products such as soft cheese, custard and flavoured yoghurts.

With continued investment from Exponent, which includes brands such as Photobox and the Racing Post in its portfolio, Meadow Foods aims to explore further opportunities.

“This investment marks another step in the growth trajectory of Meadow Foods,” said Mark Chantler, chief executive of Meadow Foods.

“Exponent and the management team have a clear vision for what we want to achieve with the company and we’re excited to get on and deliver that for the benefit of all the company’s stakeholders, suppliers and business partners.”

Oliver Bower, partner at Exponent, added: “Meadow Foods has matured as a business significantly in recent years and we believe the business is extremely well placed for continued growth.  The core fundamentals of a strong management team, good customer relationships and a strong producer base make the business the success it is.

“We are very excited by this opportunity and look forward to executing the strategy for continued growth.”

Dexter Paine, chairman and a founding partner of Paine Schwartz Partners, thanked the Chantler family and the Meadow Foods management team “for being tremendous partners” and said his firm was “very proud of what the company has been able to accomplish during our investment period”.

Meadow Foods was advised by Houlihan Lokey, RPC and KPMG on this investment. Rabobank provided M&A advice on the transaction to Exponent Private Equity.