Leatherhead gets new owner

17 Sep 2015

Leatherhead Food International has received a major investment from Science Group, a global science and technology advisory and product development organisation. In future, the business will operate as Leatherhead Research and will continue to provide technical consultancy services, including scientific research, regulatory advice, market insights, and testing services to the food and drink industry. Leatherhead’s last […]

Leatherhead gets new owner

TCP handshakeLeatherhead Food International has received a major investment from Science Group, a global science and technology advisory and product development organisation.

In future, the business will operate as Leatherhead Research and will continue to provide technical consultancy services, including scientific research, regulatory advice, market insights, and testing services to the food and drink industry.

Leatherhead’s last accounts showed the company as having revenues of £8.8 million and making a small profit. The company employs around 150 staff.

As a result of a cash flow shortfall and a significant legacy pension scheme deficit, Leatherhead had been looking for an investment partner. As a result, Science Group has now acquired the operating business and assets (excluding the freehold property and free of debt and DB pension liabilities) for £1.625 million

“Leatherhead has strong history of operating in the global food and drinks marketplace dating back almost a century,” said Dr Geoff Spriegel, Chief Executive, Leatherhead. “The last 12-18 months have been challenging for our business, particularly due to a legacy pension deficit, but with the investment from Science Group supported by the obvious synergies, our position is strengthened, both financially and technically. Working with like-minded scientists will undoubtedly lead to innovative solutions in the food industry, particularly at this time when the industry faces tough challenges and innovation is a vital part of the solution.”

Founded in 1919, Leatherhead Food Research describes itself as a trusted partner to the food industry that has developed a worldwide reputation for expertise in regulatory consultancy, product development, consumer research, nutrition science, food safety, information services and training.

The Science Group offers independent advisory and product development focused on science and technology initiatives.

“The global food and beverage marketplace is an exciting and growing sector. We view the acquisition of Leatherhead, a very well established brand with a strong client base and staff, as strengthening the Science Group’s position in this market, supplementing our existing Sagentia and Oakland Innovation operations,” said Martyn Ratcliffe, Chairman, Science Group.“The combined businesses form a substantial UK player in this global industry.”