18th Nov 2009 - 00:00
Foodservice supplier Pasta King is under new management following a Â£13 million management buy-in financed by private equity firm NBGI Private Equity Ltd (NGIPE).
Pasta King was founded in 1995 to offer businesses, and in particular the education sector, healthy pasta meals and to profit from the growing Italian cuisine market. In 2006, Pasta King was bought out by two of its long standing board directors, Sue Davenport and Paul Haigney, in a deal backed by Matrix Private Equity Partners. The company now employs 71 staff and has annual turnover of Â£12 million. It's a multi-award winning business and won six awards in 2008, including the award for 'Small to Medium sized UK Business of the Year' at the National Business Awards. NBGIPE is backing Howard Farquhar and Mike Cole as Pasta King's new managing director and chairman, respectively. They have become shareholders in the acquisition vehicle alongside NBGIPE's majority equity stake. Both Farquhar and Cole are well known to NBGIPE; they formed the cornerstone of the management team NBGIPE backed in 2003 in its successful investment in Brambles Foods, a sandwich manufacturer, which generated an internal rate of return of 51% for NBGIPE's Fund. Howard Farquhar, managing director, said: "Pasta King has a very strong position in secondary schools. We want to build on that with improved merchandising, marketing and product development not only for further growth in the education sector but also to significantly increase our presence in other markets. Our planned investment in the business is supported by NBGIPE who have an outstanding track record in working with small and medium sized UK companies." Richard Morley, director of NBGIPE added: "We are delighted to be backing Howard and Mike for the second time on an MBI into the food service sector. They are a very high quality team and I'm confident that they will take the business to new levels by further development of the successful Pasta King model." Richard Babington of NBGIPE has joined Howard and Mike on the new board of Pasta King.