3i and Royal Bank Development Capital (RBDC) have realised their investment in Greenvale, a UK-based supplier of fresh potatoes. The directors of the company have acquired all of the investors’ equity with the support of Lloyds TSB in a deal worth GBP22 million.
3i and RBDC invested in Greenvale in 1996 to support a GBP18 million management buyout from agricultural supply company, Dalgety. The private equity funds held stakes of 39 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively. During the course of the investment Greenvale made several acquisitions; in 1997 it bought Pattullo Higgs & Co, a seed trading operation; and in 1999 the company merged with Anglian Produce Ltd and Anglian Potato Services. In 2000 the company purchased 100 per cent of the ordinary share capital of ES Black Holdings Ltd.
Greenvale provides a comprehensive service to all sectors of the potato supply chain, including supplying seed potatoes to UK growers. It has five potato packing plants around the country supplying major supermarkets, national and international processing companies and the traditional wholesale and catering markets, including fish & chip outlets. Greenvale also manufactures dehydrated potato flake at a new factory in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which has the capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes of dehydrated potato flake. Company turnover is GBP140 million.
Alan Owens, chief executive of Greenvale, said: “3i and RBDC proved to be excellent partners over the last six years and encouraged us to operate and develop the business in our own style. However, the time is right for the management team to realise its long-held ambition to own the business, and for 3i and RBDC to realise their investment.”
Addleshaw Booth and KPMG Corporate Finance advised 3i on the exit.