North Tyneside food wholesalers Kitwave have reported record financial results, with sales soaring to £197.2m on the back of a string of successful acquisitions.
Kitwave Wholesale Group, based in North Shields, has increased turnover by 120% since a capital investment was made by private equity firm NVM three years ago, support which has triggered rapid growth.
Over the last five years the business has also successfully increased its EBITDA by more than 200% to £5.5m.
Latest accounts show the firm turned over £197.2m in the year ended April 2014, a lift of 2.1% on the previous 12 months, and gross profit also grew by 18% from £18.3m to £21.6m. Net assets also increased from £6.6m to £8.3m.
Since the since the 2011 investment, the firm, which acts as a cash and carry for branded confectionery, soft drinks, crisps and snacks, tobacco and frozen products has made four acquisitions.
Initial additions to the group of Automatic Retailing, Teatime Tasties and Anderson Wholesale were joined by ice cream and frozen food wholesale and distribution business, Eden Farm, as well as the firm’s subsidaies Frozone Foods, Carmine Ltd, Gocold Ltd and Eden Farm (Frozen Foods) Ltd.
The acquisition, made with support from Barclays Bank as well as Newcastle-based NVM, takes overall headcount to more than 400 people across the UK, with more than 250 based in the North East.
The firm said the addition of Eden Farm has provided Kitwave with a completely new product offering for its independent retailers, and allowed the group to increase its geographic presence to the South East.
Meanwhile, Kitwave’s management team has been focused on building a platform for future sustainable growth, working closely with its suppliers to develop its own promotional programme, offering deals to the independent retail sector.
Directors also launched a new online trading platform for their group businesses Turner & Wrights, Bishops and Automatic Retailing.
David Brind, finance director of Kitwave Wholesale Group, said: “It’s been a really positive year for us which ended with the successful acquisition of Eden Farm. This new product range will allow us to develop a deeper relationship with our customers whilst maintaining our high levels of customer service.
“The independent retail sector demands product range, value and product availability, and the Kitwave solution continually delivers in all of these areas.”
Kitwave’s accelerated growth has been recognised by The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 for the last two years and the company also accepted an invitation to join the London Stock Exchange ELITE scheme for fast growing companies.