snowballs in mug

Source: Lees Foods

Snowballs, meringues and teacakes supplier Lees Foods has been acquired by Finsbury Food Group.

Based in Coatbridge, Scotland, Lees currently employs more than 200 staff and is described by Finsbury as having a UK market-leading position in meringue manufacture as well as significant capability in sweet treats.

Finsbury said Lees has a broad customer base and holds strong supply relationships with leading UK supermarkets, foodservice and export customers.

According to Lees’ unaudited management accounts for the 12 months ended 31 December 2022, the company’s adjusted underlying EBITDA was £0.9m from adjusted underlying net sales of £21.6m.

Finsbury, which has acquired 100% of the share capital in Lees for £5.7m, said the deal is in line with its strategy to diversify its product capability into areas with high growth potential.

The acquisition is being funded from Finsbury’s existing debt facilities.

“We are delighted to announce the strategic acquisition of Lees Foods Limited, as we consolidate our position in the sweet treats sector and grow our manufacturing presence in Scotland,” said Finsbury chief executive John Duffy.

“Lees currently has a well-established position in the UK meringue category and strong relationships across a high quality and diverse customer base. This provides Finsbury with the opportunity to build upon both businesses’ existing retail relationships and unlock further commercial opportunities, including out of home.”

Lees was founded in 1931 by John Justice Lees, who developed the macaroon bar. The business went on to manufacture products including teacakes and snowballs, before tablet, fudge and coconut ice bars were added to the range.

In 1982 Lees set up Heather Cameron Foods with a joint venture partner, expanding the product range to include meringues, and seven years later bought out the partner to fully own Heather Cameron.

Lees was acquired by Northumbrian Fine Foods in 1991 and returned to independent Scottish ownership two years later. The business moved to into its current 82,000 sqft purpose-built factory in 1998.