Private equity investor LDC has backed a management buyout of Manchester-based Hill Biscuits.

LDC said it planned “to kick-start a multi-million-pound capital investment programme to expand its production capacity and develop new products in order to take advantage of rising demand from current and new customers”.

Hill, which was founded in 1855 and has annual sales of £20m, said it would be seeking strategic acquisitions to “build further scale and diversity”, as well as implementing a new international sales strategy to accelerate growth in overseas markets.

Founded as a small shop in Dukinfield, Manchester by John and Sarah Hill in 1855, Hill produces more than 30 million biscuits a week for the retail and foodservice markets. Key products include digestives, ginger nuts, custard creams, bourbons, malted milks and gingerbread men. Customers include the UK’s biggest discount retailers as well as others in mainland Europe.   

The buyout, led by Hill’s managing director Steven Wetherby, provides an exit for the Bennett family, which bought the business out of Rowntree in 1980.

Wetherby said: “Partnering with LDC will enable us to drive significant investment into the business for the benefit of our customers, adding greater production capacity and innovative new ranges, while staying focused on our core offering of quality, value-for-money products.

Simon Braham, investment director at LDC, said: “Hill is a classic example of a business with latent potential. The shareholders have built a great business over the years and the current management team has an ambitious vision for forward growth.”