Forthglade has announced investment from European private equity group IK Investment Partners (IK), who has acquired a majority stake in Forthglade Foods, alongside reinvestment from Forthglade’s senior management team.
Initially founded in 1971, Forthglade has been led by Joint Managing Directors Gerard Lovell and Chris Brooking since their management buyout in 2011 and subsequent investment by Piper in 2015.
As Piper exits the business following a successful five-year investment programme, IK’s new investment will support Forthglade’s plans to increase brand awareness and distribution to further drive growth in the UK and overseas. IK will also support Forthglade’s further expansion in the business’ product range and growth in its manufacturing capabilities.
Forthglade employs over 130 people in the UK, and distributes across supermarkets, independent specialist pet retailers and online retailers including its own website. 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 £22 million in sales in the year to September 2020. The company has seen sales accelerate ahead of plan throughout the lockdown period.
Forthglade’s recently launched state-of-the art factory in Devon, which produces the business’ natural wet dog food, created significant additional capacity to support its 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. Last year Forthglade also launched a successful co-branded range of meals and treats for dogs in association with the National Trust, as part of a three-year partnership.
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’re well placed to help us grow our offering and enter new markets as well as further support growth and development here in the UK. We have exciting plans ahead as we look to expand our success in wet meals into cold pressed and treats, and we see a strong runway for growth ahead.”
Tom Salmon partner at IK, 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 supporting Forthglade.”