The shareholders of John Ross Jr. (Aberdeen) Limited (John Ross) and Coln Valley Smokery Limited (Coln Valley), together the JRJ Group, an award-winning, luxury branded smoked salmon producer, have sold the company to AS PRFoods for US$20.3 million.
Founded by Andrew Leigh in 1987, John Ross is a leading brand of luxury traditional smoked salmon and fine food products, as recognized by its Royal Warrant accreditation which it has held for over 20 years. John Ross’s products are sold worldwide and its customer base includes leading retailers such as Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, leading restaurants and international customers. Coln Valley, an award-winning smoked salmon business based in the English Cotswolds, was acquired by the JRJ Group in 2009. The acquisition enhanced the group's product offering available to its customers and provided additional channels to market including prestigious sporting events such as Cheltenham, the Henley Royal Regatta and Wimbledon.
PRFoods is an Estonian-based group of companies engaged in food processing and sales. The group has been listed on the NASDAQ OMX Tallinn Stock Exchange since May 2010. PRFoods is the largest manufacturer of fish in Estonia and also one of the largest fish production brands in Finland.
The transaction gives a majority exit for the Leigh family, with next generation family-members Vicky Leigh-Pearson and Chris Leigh continuing in senior roles and as shareholders in the group. The sale to PRFoods provides an ideal route to leverage the strength of the John Ross and Coln Valley brands, to expand its product range and accelerate sales growth around the world.
Cavendish, an Oaklins member firm in the UK, advised the shareholders and management of JRJ Group, working with the Leigh family over a number of years to prepare the business and then running a competitive sale process. With the support of Oaklins' member firms worldwide, Cavendish was able to bring a range of buyers from around the world, including PRFoods, into the sale.
Andrew Leigh, Founder and Shareholder of John Ross commented: “We have greatly enjoyed working with team over the past few years. As a family-owned business, we definitely needed good advice and we felt very well supported by the team at Cavendish. I never imagined we would end up with an Estonian buyer but it is clear that there is an excellent fit with PRFoods, which will be good for the business, our customers and suppliers and for Chris and Vicky who remain as shareholders.”
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