Cash and carry operator Blakemore's has increased its North East foothold after it bought out family-run Lowries for an undisclosed sum.
Peter Lowrie’s, with an annual turnover of £25m, has depots in Newcastle, Hexham and Penrith. It has been sold to Wolverhampton firm AF Blakemore & Son.
Blakemore’s said it had acquired the long-established, family-run business to give it access to a large number of extra catering and retail customers across the region.
The company is part of the AF Blakemore group, which began life in 1917 as a counter service grocery store in Wolverhampton and now employs more than 7,500 people and turns over more than £1.1bn.
The news comes five years after Blakemore’s snapped up the Tyne-Tees Cash & Carry depots in Gateshead and Middlesbrough.
Blakemore Wholesale managing director Sam Wilcox said: “The forthcoming retirement of Peter Lowrie has prompted the sale of the business.
“We are very pleased to have acquired this excellent family company, which is a good fit with our own business and gives us an increasingly strong presence in the North East.
“The strength of Lowrie’s is a credit to Peter, which he has run successfully for more than 30 years, and we wish him all the best for a long and happy retirement.”
Coming from a family with a long tradition in food distribution, which began as one man selling eggs from a horse and cart in the 1880s, Peter Lowrie established his own food supply business in 1983 at a warehouse near the North Shields Fish Quay.
The acquisition consists of a cash & carry and delivered depot, in Killingworth, near Newcastle, along with a further cash & carry in Hexham, Northumberland, and a food service and cash & carry depot in Penrith, Cumbria.
RSM Tenon’s Michael Cantwell, lead adviser on the transaction, said: “Peter and his team have worked hard over 30 years to build an excellent business.
“The sale to AF Blakemore leaves the company in good hands.”
Peter Lowrie said: “From the beginning of the process, in researching potential acquirers for my company, Michael and colleagues were tireless in their efforts to get this deal done.”
Blakemore Wholesale is the seventh-largest company of its kind in the UK market, with 10 depots nationwide before the Lowrie’s purchase.
From the outset, Lowries has been a member of Landmark, the Cash and Carry Co-operative. Being a member of Landmark allows independent wholesalers to benefit from collective buying power, resulting in competitive prices which are passed on to the retailers.
Ward Hadaway corporate finance partner Robert Thompson led the firm’s team advising Lowrie’s on the sale.
Grant Thornton provided financial due diligence to AF Blakemore, with Higgs & Sons providing legal advice.
Thompson said: “We are delighted to have assisted the shareholders on the successful sale of Lowrie’s.
“It is a well established fixture in the wholesale goods sector in the North East and we wish the new owners of the business well.”