Acquisition of Business and Assets of Leatherhead Food International Limited
Science Group plc (AIM:SAG) has acquired the operating business and assets, excluding the freehold property, of Leatherhead Food International Limited (“Leatherhead”), a technical consultancy providing scientific research, regulatory advice, market insights, testing and other services to the food and drink industry. Founded in 1919, Leatherhead provides science-based services to an international customer base of over 500 clients, including major global food manufacturers and major UK retailers. In the year to 31 December 2013, the last filed audited accounts, Leatherhead reported revenue of £8.8 million and a profit before tax of £0.1 million. Leatherhead currently employs approximately 150 staff. Information on Leatherhead can be found at www.leatherheadfood.com.
As a result of a cash flow shortfall and a significant legacy pension scheme deficit, the Board of Leatherhead, with its advisors, conducted a process to find an investment partner. The Science Group was included in this process due to prior contact having been established through the Group’s acquisition activities. As a result, SGL1 Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Group plc, has now acquired the operating business and assets (excluding the freehold property and free of debt and DB pension liabilities) from the Administrator of Leatherhead, for £1.625 million payable in cash. It is anticipated that SGL1 Limited will be renamed Leatherhead Research Limited.
The acquisition of the Leatherhead business is highly complementary to the Consumer market sector activities of Sagentia (the Science Group’s core science and technology development business) and with Oakland Innovation, acquired in February 2015. Both of these businesses have an established presence with major food and drink companies and Science Group has seen increasing investment from this market sector in science-based services. The acquisition of the Leatherhead business, a very well established brand in the food and drink market, further strengthens the Group’s capabilities in this high profile and exciting industry.
The Leatherhead operations will vacate the current premises and relocate to a new facility in the first half of 2016. This new facility will establish a hub for the Science Group’s operations south of London, complementing the existing Harston, Cambridge facility.
For further information:
Science Group plc
Martyn Ratcliffe, Chairman
Rebecca Hemsted, Finance Director
Tel: +44 (0)1223 875 200
Numis Securities Limited
Nominated Adviser: Oliver Cardigan / Simon Willis
Corporate Broking: James Serjeant
Tel: +44 (0)20 7260 1000
Tel: +44 (0)20 7398 7719