Leicestershire bakery receives major investment

shutterstock.com/Natee Meepian

Unsworth Family has made a majority investment in Geary’s Bakeries, the Leicestershire-based artisanal craft bakery, in a deal supported with finance from Natwest and Lombard.

Owner Jason Geary has retained a significant equity stake in the Company and will remain in his current role as Managing Director following the Unsworth Family’s investment. The Unsworth Family previously owned and ran the Aimia Foods business prior to selling to Cott Corporation in 2014. Gary and Ian Unsworth founded the Aimia Foods business in 1981, whilst Gary’s son Rob ran the business as Managing Director from 2008.

Geary’s was established in 1906 and has remained family-run throughout four generations. The business recently received £15m of investment in 2018 to support the development of a new, purpose-built factory in Leicester to keep pace with the exponential growth demand of its biggest customer, Aldi. Geary’s bake over one million individual loaves and rolls a month.

Orbis Partners were retained as the exclusive corporate finance advisors to the Unsworth Family over an 18-month period, helping to originate and invest in high-quality food manufacturing businesses. Geary’s was identified as a superior investment opportunity due to the Company’s reputation supplying award-winning artisan breads and it’s unique market position. The Orbis team, led by Partner Gary Ecob and Associate Director Steve Nock, acted as lead advisors on the deal.

Rob Unsworth, Former Managing Director of Aimia Foods, who will take on the role of Chairman at Geary’s, said: “With their experience in the food and consumer sector, Orbis identified a number of high-quality businesses with the attributes we were looking for. Geary’s is a fantastic investment opportunity due to its focus on quality artisan products and Jason’s ambitious plans for the company. We are excited to work with Jason and the team at Geary’s to help continue the business’ growth.”

Jason Geary, Owner of Geary’s Bakeries, said: “Geary’s has always focused on quality, which has been demonstrated by the thousands of awards we have won over the years. I am looking forward to working in partnership with the Unsworth family as we take Geary’s into the future together.”

Gary Ecob, Partner at Orbis Partners, said: “We’ve admired Geary’s for a number of the years and believe the attributes of the business fit perfectly with the Unsworth Family’s investment strategy. We’ve enjoyed working with Geary’s and the Unsworth Family over the last 18 months and are delighted to have concluded a deal that works for all parties. I am excited to see the next stage of Geary’s journey.”

Legal advice to the Unsworth Family was provided by Ryan Hawley and Tom Amarnani of Mills & Reeve. Tax advice was provided by Ray Abercromby of Smith & Williamson.

David Browne of Provantage in Nottingham acted as Corporate Finance Advisor to Geary’s. Legal advice to Geary’s was provided by Martin Smith of Knights Plc whilst funding was provided by Ken Feast at Natwest and Carl Norman at Lombard.