Catering equipment firm sold for seven-figure sum

A Lancashire company which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hotplates for the food industry has been acquired for a seven-figure sum.

Barrowford-based Sugden has been acquired by Baldwin Engineering Holdings, whose subsidiary Baldwin Technical Services of Heywood, Greater Manchester manufactures and installs control systems for the food industry.

Sugden’s hotplates are used by major food brands worldwide to make crumpets, pancakes, potato cakes, English Muffins and other savouries.

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The two companies already collaborate on many projects and list major manufacturers such as Warburton’s, Premier Foods and Allied Bakeries among their clients.

Sugden was acquired from the estate of the late Barry Mulholland, the founder and managing director of the company, who died suddenly in April 2014, and co-founder and director Keith Sutcliffe.

The deal will secure the jobs of the company’s 15 staff. Since Mr Mullholland’s death, Baldwin’s founder Chris Baldwin has taken on the role of managing director at both companies.

Baldwin Engineering Holdings and Sugden will both be based at the Barrowford site, where there is capacity to expand the manufacturing operation, resulting in the creation of a further five jobs over the next year.

The deal was backed by Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Finance, a finance package that supports Lancashire firms to grow and expand their business.

It is managed by Enterprise Ventures on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL), the county council’s economic development company.

Paul Taberner of Enterprise Ventures said: “This acquisition makes a lot of sense. It gives Baldwin a facility to manufacture, where it previously subcontracted, and offers Sugden the security to move forward and expand its product range into existing and new markets. It also makes it easier for their major food clients which often prefer to deal with a single supplier.”

Pierce Corporate Finance carried out due diligence on the deal.

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