Bawtry on the acquisition trail

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Bawtry Investments has launched itself on the acquisition trail, with the help of Sheffield-based BHP Corporate Finance.

The group, based in the Doncaster village of Austerfield, where it owns Bawtry Carbon International, has bought Nicholl Food Packaging, the UK’s largest producer of foil containers for the food industry, for an undisclosed sum.

Nicholl has sales of around £60 million and employs 300 people at its main manufacturing plant at Cannock, in the West Midlands, plants near Grenoble, in France and Hannover, in Germany and operations in Belgium and the US.

The company makes foil containers and associated packaging for all sectors of the food industry and earlier this year launched a recyclable and biodegradable food tray that can also be printed on, as well as biodegradable pouches that can be used to vacuum pack a range of food products.

Bawtry Investments’ chairman, Richard Barrick, said: “This is the first of a number of acquisitions that we would like to make over the next few years.

“We have been working with Stephen Ingram of BHP Corporate Finance for nearly a year on identifying suitable acquisitions and are very pleased to have identified and completed our first acquisition in a relatively short period of time.”

Mr Barrick praised the BHP Corporate Finance team.

“We were impressed with the way that they helped us find solutions to a number of challenges that arose during the course of the transaction,” Mr Barrick added.

BHP identified Nicholl Food Packaging as a potential acquisition in addition to managing the acquisition process, with the help of legal advice from Nick Goulding of Hlw Keeble Hawson. BHP partner, Stephen Ingram said: “Whilst there were a number of challenges during the course of the transaction we worked up solutions that overcame these. As a consequence our client has now completed its first acquisition.”

AS an idea it’s hard to fault: cut congestion and pollution and boost trade in local shops by rewarding people for not driving.

But as a money-making vehicle it’s still up on blocks.

The Carbon Quids scheme was launched a year ago on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield. Walkers, cyclists and bus passengers can earn a discount card valid in local shops.

But a year on and £100,000 spent, there are just 326 participants - and cash-strapped Sheffield Council, which stumped up £60,000 initially, has pulled out.

Find out why the company behind the scheme plans to go it alone, in Business Monthly in The Star on Wednesday.