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Business & Economy

Kitwave Group eyes further deals amid ‘positive’ post-pandemic world

An independent wholesaler has refused to rule out further market takeovers to fuel post-COVID-19 growth.

Kitwave Group says acquisitions will be central to “capitalising upon the UK’s fragmented grocery and foodservice wholesale market”.

Bosses at the North Shields firm – which earlier this month bought Devon’s M.J. Baker Foodservice Limited for £24.5 million – revealed their plans today (Monday, February 28) in annual financial results, which showed the effect of the pandemic on the business.

Revenues in the 12-month period to October 31 stood at £380.7 million, a fall from the £590.02 million recorded in the previous 18 months to October 2020, though pre-tax profit increased 63 per cent to £2.1 million.

And officials say their outlook remains “positive” as markets recover from COVID-19.

Paul Young, chief executive [pictured above, right, with chief finance officer David Brind], echoed the optimism and reiterated the firm, which floated on the AIM sub-market last May and previously added operators including HB Clark, Central Supplies and Alpine Fine Foods to its stable, was keen to continue expanding.

He added: “While this year has been particularly challenging for our independent customers, it is clear we are nearing a return to some form of normality.

“Trading, which was heavily impacted in the first six months of the year, has returned to pre-pandemic levels over recent months.

“In line with our buy-and-build strategy, we were delighted to announce the acquisition of M.J. Baker; the board believes the acquisition represents an excellent opportunity to further develop the group’s reach into the South West and its foodservice offering.

“The board continues to focus on capitalising upon the UK’s fragmented grocery and foodservice wholesale market and generating value for the group and its shareholders through operational efficiencies, organic growth and further acquisitions.”