Whitworths agrees merger with wholesaler Anatolia

Whitworths' entire share capital was bought by Anatolia

Dried fruit, nut and seed supplier Whitworths has completed a merger with Turkish dried fruit and nut wholesale exporter Anatolia.

Anatolia has bought the entire share capital of Whitworths for an undisclosed sum. The merger – revealed yesterday (May 16) – came after a 38-year trading relationship, and provided the platform for long-term growth, Whitworths said.

The deal would create “one of Europe’s largest dried fruit, nut and seeds business”, Whitworths added.

‘Long term growth’

A Whitworths spokesman said: “The merger provides the platform for long-term growth, leveraging the capability of Whitworths, as the UK’s leading supplier of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, with the sourcing and packing capability of Anatolia on Turkish grown product.

“This provides the joint business with a unique position in the market to deliver supply chain integrity from producer to consumer on key areas of dried fruit.”

The two manufacturers had been in a working partnership for the past 27 years. The new business would invest in the Whitworth brand domestically and internationally. It would also invest in new packing facilities to meet the long-term needs of its key retailers.

Whitworths confirmed its operations would continue to run in the UK. Management would also continue to lead the UK business.

‘An exciting opportunity’

“This is an exciting opportunity for Whitworths and one that will bring long-term benefits to our consumers, customers and suppliers,” said the Whitworths spokesman.

“We look forward to sharing the plans on the next stage of this journey.”

An industry expert told FoodManufacture.co.uk that Whitworths had gone backwards since it was bought by investor Equistone in 2013.

The expert said: “I knew Whitworths was for sale and it has been through several hands in the last 10 years.

“It is clearly not the easiest business and has gone backwards since bought by Equistone in 2013. I suspect that they will have lost money on the sale, having paid about £90M.”

Meanwhile, Whitworths confirmed it was working with financial restructuring firm Houlihan Lokey last month. It said it was exploring new investment opportunities.

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