NorthEdge Capital has invested in independent soft drinks company Clearly Drinks Group Limited, backing the existing management team led by Finn O’Driscoll and Martin Thornton.
Based in Sunderland, Clearly Drinks is a soft drinks manufacturer, bottler and distributor operating in the fast-growing flavoured spring water sector. The company specialises in sugar-free products, with brands including Perfectly Clear, 1870 Mixers, and Northumbria Spring, all of which are sourced from the firm’s on-site spring.
The business offers flexible processing for its customers, including short and long runs, available in PET and glass, and provides contract bottling services for branded drinks companies across the globe. The company has a skilled workforce of over 70 people and will report turnover of £13.5m in the 12 months to December 2016.
NorthEdge’s investment continues a period of strong activity for the firm in the North East region, following the recent AIM listing of Ramsdens Financial and the exchange of the sale of Fine Industries to Lianhetech.
NorthEdge’s investment will support the management team on the planned investment in the plant, sales resource and to deliver a pipeline of new product development.
The deal was led by NorthEdge’s John Rastrick, Partner, Tom Rowley, Investment Director and Nicola McQuaid, Investment Manager, and is the fourth investment from the £315m NorthEdge Capital Fund II. John and Nicola will join the Clearly Drink’s Board as Non-Executive Directors and Peter Cheung, also Chairman of ex-NorthEdge portfolio company Accrol Group Plc which listed on AIM in June 2016, will join as Chairman.
John Rastrick, Partner at NorthEdge, said: “We are delighted to support Finn, Martin and the team as they lead Perfectly Clear into new market opportunities. As more and more health-conscious shoppers look for alternatives to calorie-packed beverages following the pending introduction of the sugar tax, the demand for sugar-free, naturally flavoured products will continue to grow. Clearly Drinks is well placed to be at the forefront of that movement, and we are looking forward to working with the firm’s experienced management team to convert the pipeline of exciting new product development opportunities in this evolving market.”
Finn O’Driscoll, CEO at Clearly Drinks, said: “NorthEdge is an experienced investor, with a strong track record of delivering strategic and operational success across regional economies. We are excited about what we can achieve together, and with a buoyant market and strong team in place, this company is poised to go from strength to strength.”
NorthEdge was supported by Grant Thornton (Richard Goldsack/Chris Archer/Duncan Morpeth), Bond Dickinson (Simon Pilling/James Cook/Catherine Willis), CIL (Seb Chambers/Liam McGuinness), Henderson (Jon Harrison), PWC (Joel Smith/Tom Bennett) and Syngroup (Susanna Mitterer/ Bernhard Morawetz).
The company was advised by Livingstone Partners (Patrick Groarke/Karen Dawaf Harron), DWF (Frank Shephard/Darren Ormsby / Francesca Kinsella) and Saffery Champness.
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