New owner for NFT

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Chilled food specialist NFT Distribution Operations has been acquired by private equity investor EmergeVest, for more than £60 million.

EmergeVest bought the entire shareholding of NFT’s original private equity backer, Phoenix Equity Partners.

The transaction includes integrated debt funding of up to £42m provided by Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance.

The current management team at NFT will remain with the business and maintain a significant shareholding in the company.

Since a MBO from Northern Foods in 2006, NFT has seen sales increase 49 per cent, from £114 million to £170 million in the latest year to March 2014. The company runs seven strategically located sites at which it employs 2,000 full-time staff.

Chief executive David Frankish said: “We have been diligent in our search for a new investment partner and are really pleased to be working with EmergeVest who have exhibited a great understanding of our market and a passion to help NFT fulfil its potential.”

Phoenix Equity Partners  became the majority stakeholder in NFT in 2006 when it supported the management buyout led by Frankish. It still has a stake in Palletways where is back a management buy-in by James Wilson in 2004.

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