Novax acquires Ulrick & Short

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Novax AB is the investment company of the Stockholm-based Axel Johnson Group.  Pic: Novax
Novax AB is the investment company of the Stockholm-based Axel Johnson Group. Pic: Novax

Related tags: Ulrick & short, Ingredients, M&A

Swedish investment company Novax has acquired a majority stake in Ulrick & Short, a UK producer of sustainable and healthier 'clean label' food and food ingredients.

Novax said the acquisition is part of its commitment to the sustainable development of the future of food.

Ulrick & Short specializes in natural "clean label" ingredients and is well positioned to meet the long-term trends of consumers and food producers moving towards healthier and more sustainable food alternatives, Novax said. The company acts as a partner for food producers who want to develop new clean label products or develop existing product ranges towards healthier alternatives.

Following the acquisition, Ulrick & Short will continue to operate as an independent business, with the company's founders Adrian Short and Andrew Ulrick remaining as minority shareholders in the company.

Short, co-founder and owner, will continue to lead the business in the next step of the company's growth journey.

“Even at the first meeting with the Novax team, it was clear that we had found an organization and a team that shares our values ​​and beliefs in how a company should be run and developed. With Novax as a partner, we will continue to grow and have the best of conditions to reach our full potential. We look forward to the next, exciting stage of the journey,”​ Short said.

After 21 years at the company, Ulrick will retire from his operational role and continue to support and be available to the business as a strategic advisor. He said of the new partnership, “I believe that in Novax we have found a partner with a compatible culture who will provide significant support in the future direction of Ulrick & Short.”

Novax said the transaction is a significant step into the food value chain.

Pär Warnström, senior investment manager and sector manager for future food at Novax, said, “We are both proud and happy to begin this collaboration with Adrian, Andrew and the entire team at Ulrick & Short in the next chapter of their growth journey.

“As a long-term investor and partner, it is gratifying to offer a large and business-oriented commitment to continue building and developing Ulrick & Short together with the team in the coming years. The company illustrates much of what we believe characterizes an exceptional business in a promising market - a strong and experienced management team, a competitive leading niche position with a demonstrated strength in its business model, with decades of experience and expertise.

“At Novax, we are determined to be part of driving the food industry forward with innovation, health and sustainability in focus, and we look forward to continuing with that and growing Ulrick & Short together with Adrian and the team.”

Novax AB is the investment company of the Stockholm-based Axel Johnson Group.

Axel Johnson builds and develops profitable businesses in trade and services in the European market, focusing on the Nordic region.  In 2019 Axel Johnson’s consolidated sales reached approximately SEK88bn ($10.3bn). This makes Axel Johnson one of the largest companies in the Nordic region engaged in business within trade and service.

Advisers to Novax in the transaction were Oghma Partners LLP, Walker Morris LLP and Ernst & Young.

Oghma said the deal is the latest in its list of transactions in the ingredients sector. Other recent ingredient deals have included advising Solina Group on the acquisition of UK-based Bowman Ingredients and Givaudan S.A. on the divestment of both its pectin business to Herbstreith & Fox and of its processed and grated cheese business.

Mark Lynch, partner at Oghma Partners, said, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Novax on this ingredients acquisition which further strengthens our industry leading track record in this important and exciting sub-sector of the food space. This transaction marks the completion of our sixth deal in the last twelve months.’’

Related topics: Ingredients

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