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Trowers & Hamlins has advised the shareholders of WestCountry Food Holdings Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the group companies to Kitwave Group plc, for a total gross consideration of £29.0 million.

Established in 1856, WestCountry is a specialist fresh produce wholesaler to the foodservice sector and a leading wholesaler of local, regional and imported fresh produce in the South West of England. The WestCountry business has developed an unrivalled network of dedicated, high-quality local growers of seasonal fresh produce, as well as direct supply links with national and international fresh produce markets. 

Kitwave Group plc is a delivered wholesale business, specialising in selling and delivering impulse products, frozen and chilled foods, alcohol, groceries and tobacco to approximately 39,000, mainly independent, customers.  With a network of 27 depots, Kitwave is able to support delivery throughout the UK to a diverse customer base, which includes independent convenience retailers, leisure outlets, vending machine operators, foodservice providers and other wholesalers, as well as leading national retailers.  

WestCountry will be incorporated into Kitwave’s existing Foodservice division which currently comprises the trading operations of H.B. Clark & Co. (Successors) Limited, David Miller Frozen Foods Limited and M. J. Baker Foodservice Limited.

Corporate Partner, Stuart Mathews, led the Trowers team, comprising lawyers from multiple specialisms including Corporate (Jon Holloway and Luke Cummings), Real Estate (Lynn Onyett and Becky Moore), Employment (John Turnbull) and Commercial/IP (Alice Stripe and Matt Whelan). 

The deal completed with professional advice and support from Oasis Europe and Old Mill Accountancy LLP. 

Commenting on the sale, Sean Williams, selling shareholder of Westcountry, said: 

“Having taken what was a small, sub-regional family business on an immensely enjoyable and eventful journey of growth over almost 25 years, creating jobs for hundreds of staff and delivering opportunity and benefit for many thousands of customers and suppliers along the way, we are delighted to have been able to conclude this important strategic transaction with Kitwave. The sale process is never an easy one for operating businesses as complex as Westcountry’s but as the exiting shareholders, we were delighted with the outstanding professional support that we received from the key advisors on this deal, in particular from Stuart Mathews who, as CF partner at Trowers, coordinated an expert team of specialist lawyers on our behalf, along with Mark Neath (CF partner) and his team at Old Mill (accountants and tax advisors), and James Wilcox-Jones, principal at Oasis Europe (corporate/M&A advisors)”

Stuart Mathews said: 

"It was a pleasure to work with the shareholders to secure a successful sale and we are delighted to see Westcountry embark on a new chapter with Kitwave Group plc."