UK-based distribution services company Bunzl has agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Nisbets, a catering equipment and consumables distributor, for an initial cash payment of £339m.

Founded in 1983 by Andrew Nisbet, Nisbets is a family-owned business with a strong presence in the UK and Ireland, Northern Europe and Australasia.

It has more than 1,800 workers and an experienced management team that will stay on after the acquisition.

Andrew Nisbet will serve as a non-executive director, with the Nisbet family retaining a minority interest.

For the year ending 2023, Nisbets reported revenues of £498.1m and a profit before interest, tax and amortisation of £40.2m. Its total gross assets were valued at £242.1m.

The agreement for stake acquisition includes potential additional earn-out payments depending on 2024’s financial performance.

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Bunzl has options to acquire the remaining 20% of Nisbets in the future, with the price determined by the company’s financial standing at the time of the option exercise.

Bunzl will fund the acquisition through its existing cash reserves and debt facilities.

In January 2024, Bunzl also signed an agreement to acquire Pamark, marking the group’s first venture into Finland.

Pamark is a distributor of foodservice, hygiene, healthcare, cleaning and safety products to private and public sector customers in Finland.

The acquisition will be completed in late February 2024. The expansion will increase Bunzl’s operational footprint to 33 countries.

Bunzl CEO Frank van Zanten said: “The acquisition of Nisbets is an exciting step for Bunzl. Andrew Nisbet has built a high-quality business, with a well-respected management team. The business is complementary to our operations in the catering equipment sector and will enhance our own brand offering and digital capabilities.

“Pamark is our first acquisition in Finland and provides us with a strong platform from which to grow our presence across multiple end market segments in the country, supporting further expansion of our footprint in the Nordic region.

“This is an excellent start to 2024, maintaining the strong acquisition momentum of recent years. Our pipeline remains active, supported by the strength of our balance sheet.”