Top 100 UK law firm, Hugh James, has completed one of Wales’s largest M&A deals this year, with the acquisition of a £28m turnover poultry business in Pembrokeshire by a major international food processing firm.
Specialist lawyers from Hugh James acted for Justin and Kate Scale on their sale of a majority stake in Capestone Organic Poultry in West Wales.
Under the deal, Capestone has been acquired by Euronext Paris-listed LDC Group, one of Europe’s leading poultry supply companies. This is LDC’s first investment in the UK and sees the company buying a majority stake in Capestone, with Justin Scale retaining a minority shareholding alongside Capestone’s chief executive, Rob Cumine.
The Hugh James legal team was led by Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial, Gerallt Jones, supported by Partner and Head of Commercial Property, Peter Hurn and other lawyers from the Corporate and Commercial, Commercial Property, Banking and Finance and Employment teams.
Speaking of the transaction, Gerallt Jones said:
“This deal is a great Welsh success story, particularly during a difficult period for the food and drink sector – with COVID, Brexit and economic uncertainty impacting the market heavily. Capestone is a home-grown business that has become a leading producer on an international scale. To attract investment from a European heavyweight like LDC is testament to the hard work and dedication of Justin, his team and Welsh farmer growers. We’re proud to have supported this significant M&A deal and we wish Capestone every success under its new ownership model.”
Established by Justin Scale 20 years ago, on the family farm in Walwyn’s Castle, Capestone has grown into a business that now supplies 7% of the UK’s free range and organic poultry market. As well as having a strong presence in the retail market, including sales of Christmas turkeys and other meats, the company also supplies the baby food market. In 2020, the company achieved sales of approximately £28m.
Commenting on the acquisition, Justin Scale said:
“This has come at the right time for our family, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m very much looking forward to continuing to be a part of Capestone and its exciting expansion – which is great for the local economy and community. We’re very grateful to Hugh James for the professionalism, care and advice they have provided throughout the process. They came highly recommended for their M&A expertise and have certainly lived up to their excellent reputation.”
Hugh James has a strong track record in the food and drink sector, with clients including S.A. Brain & Co, Braces Bakery and FEI Foods and transactions including the sale of Princes Gate Spring Water to Nestlé.