Meat deal

Browns buys Stoddart’s stake in expansion drive

Partners: Wayne Godfrey, Grant Moir and Julie Fancourt

Browns Food Group has acquired a substantial stake in AK Stoddart to create Scotland’s largest privately-owned meat business.

The combined company’s domestic and global footprint will accelerate processing capacity and export capabilities with a turnover £300 million and a target of £500m.

Incorporated in 1959, Stoddart’s employs 220 staff and processes 35,000 cattle every year through its abattoir in Ayr and processing facilities in Broxburn.

Browns has made a “multi-million pound” investment and acquired shares from existing shareholders Colin Wright and Ton Christiaanse.

The two remaining Stoddart’s shareholders, Grant Moir, managing director, and Julie Fancourt, finance director, will continue to manage day-to-day operations.

Wayne Godfrey, CEO of Browns Food Group, commented: “This investment expands our footprint in the red meat sector and will create further opportunities for growth.

“Stoddart’s has demonstrated a strong track record of success and innovation, and we look forward to partnering with Grant and Julie to drive the business forward and achieve new milestones together.”

Mr Moir, managing director of AK Stoddart, added: “We have known Wayne and the Browns team for many years. After meeting with the Browns family, we feel confident that this is the right decision for the business. Being part of a larger organisation will provide greater stability and growth opportunities for the industry as a whole.”

Julie Fancourt, finance director of AK Stoddart, said: “It was important for us to find a buyer that not only shared our values but had an exciting vision for the future of the Scottish red meat sector.

“Browns Food Group is committed to supporting the Scottish farming and agricultural community and has plans to invest and substantially grow the business in the next few years.

“During our review and selection process, they quickly became our preferred partner. We are excited about the future and being part of that journey.”

Sarah Miller, chief executive of Quality Meat Scotland, said the deal was welcome news for the red meat sector.

“This alliance aligns with both businesses’ ambitions to grow opportunities for pork and beef supply into retail, export, and wholesale markets. Browns has shown a deep, long-term commitment to the red meat sector, following their investment in expanding Specially Selected Pork processing in Scotland,” she said.

“We now welcome the same vision for quality Scotch beef. This collaboration and partnership constitute important investment into the skills, production, and market growth of two of our most important domestic meats—beef and pork.”

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