Glisten Ltd set for new era of incredible growth and product development

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Glisten Ltd set for new era of incredible growth and product development

Leeds-based Glisten Ltd, one of Europe's leading manufacturers of confectionery, snacks and cereals, has announced plans to significantly expand its product range and seek out further business opportunities in the wake of its acquisition of Big Bear Group Ltd (BBG) earlier this year and continued investment from its Finnish parent, Raisio Plc.

Supporting corporates

17 January 2012

Raisio owns international brands such as Benecol and Elovena. Glisten has a turnover of £150m (€180m), and now accounts for 40% of Raisio's annual sales (€443m in 2010).

With BBG's brands fully incorporated, Glisten boasts some of the UK's most well-known food marques, including Honey Monster, Fox's Glacier Mints, Harvest Chewee bars and Just Brazils. The firm is now the second-largest supplier of supermarket own-brands in UK Confectionery – with Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi, Spar, Next, CandyKing and Poundland, among others, as customers. Glisten employs 950 people across 11 manufacturing sites in the UK and is also at the forefront of growing consumer demand for healthier snacking including fair-trade, organic, high-fruit, dietary and functional snack-foods. It produces and markets over 1,000 products and owns or licenses leading brands such as Fruitus Organic Cereal Bars, Weight Watchers Savoury Snacks and SunMaid coated fruits.

Fully supported by Raisio, Glisten will now look to leverage the strong brand capital of its marques, roll out new products and diversify into new categories with the aim of growing market in the UK and Europe. The group marketed a Halloween-inspired limited edition Honey Monster Sugar Puffs product earlier in 2011 and is looking to repeat the success of this venture with a Christmas variety called Snowy Puffs (Sugar Puffs with bits of meringue). Four more Sugar Puffs products are already in pipeline for 2012, an indication of Glisten's focus on innovation and creativity to drive growth. Other brands targeted for major investment include the Fox's portfolio, Harvest Chewee bars, Poppets and the Just range.

A catalyst for this development has been the marriage of Glisten's large-scale production capacity with BBG's well-known brands – Glisten's industrial strength means group-wide brands can fulfil their true market potential and accommodate opportunities as they arise. Utilising the factories better has allowed Glisten's management and operational teams to win significant new business, in the process protecting employment and widening the company's footprint. On top of organic growth and further developing existing client relationships, further acquisitions in Europe are also being targeted.

Raisio is committed to the UK market, providing significant unencumbered funding to Glisten as part of the BBG acquisition and on-going working capital requirement. Raisio Plc has a strong balance sheet with a net cash position. Glisten also recently moved its full-service banking account to Royal Bank of Scotland's Leeds-based Corporate & Institutional Banking (RBS CIB) office, with RBS CIB providing a £5m funding facility to help with ad hoc capital requirements and further product development.

Robert Davies, finance director at Glisten Ltd, said: "We think Raisio Western Europe (RWE)/Glisten is about to enter an era of very strong growth. The acquisition of Big Bear coupled with the incredible support from Raisio means Glisten will be able to unlock exciting new products and ambitious new revenue streams. The group is benefitting from a new divisional structure, alongside a new senior commercial team and new facilities, and it is only right that we are also working with a new bank in Royal Bank of Scotland."

Ronnie Bowron, relationship director at the Leeds office of RBS CIB, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be taken on by Glisten. This is a truly exciting client. We have built a good relationship and they have been impressed by RBS CIB's strong food sector credentials. Glisten and its parent Raisio are very high quality businesses with strong sales, profitability and cash generation secured by an excellent product portfolio."

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