Food packaging specialist to be acquired by US corporation in £220m deal

Proseal UK Limited – the UK firm which is a leading provider of tray sealing technology to the food industry – is to be acquired by Chicago-based JBT Corporation.

JBT, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the company for a purchase price of approximately £220m. The deal will allow Proseal to further expand its business by providing access to JBT’s global sales and service network. Closing is expected in the second quarter of 2019 and is subject to regulatory approvals. Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance, Spinnaker Corporate Finance and Addleshaw Goddard advised on the deal.

Established in 1998, Proseal now employs 350 staff in Adlington, Cheshire, with additional facilities in Richmond, Virginia and Melbourne, Australia, and supplies high-quality tray-sealing machines to markets worldwide.

Tray sealing technology is used across a broad spectrum of food products and enhances freshness and flavour by sealing the product with film over a preformed tray. Proseal has been at the leading edge of developing environmentally-friendly packaging that minimizes the use of plastics while reducing food waste by extending the product’s shelf life.

Under the terms of the deal, the management team which is led by the founders – Steve Malone and Robert Hargreaves – will remain in place and the Proseal brand will also be retained.

“The acquisition of Proseal represents an important expansion of JBT’s capabilities, adding significantly to our end-of-line market position and advancing our strategy of providing full-line customer solutions,” stated Tom Giacomini, JBT’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

“Moreover, we believe Proseal’s technology affords growth opportunities around the globe.”

“Tray sealing is relevant to many of our FoodTech customers, particularly in the rapidly expanding market for convenience foods,” said Carlos Fernandez, JBT’s Executive Vice President and President, Liquid Foods.

The shareholders of Proseal were advised in a joint mandate by Philip Price, Gerard Lucas and Callum Sellar of Dow Schofield Watts and Dave Wilson at Spinnaker Corporate Finance.  Legal advisors to Proseal were Addleshaw Goddard led by Paul Medlicott, Joanne Cooper, Mark Guttridge and Farah Aslam.

Philip Price said: “We are delighted to have supported the shareholders of Proseal in securing a fantastic deal for them and all of their stakeholders. This marks the culmination of over 20 years of continual development, innovation and growth.  Proseal is now a fully global business and will be an integral part of JBT Corporation’s commitment to expand its end-of-line tray sealing technology within the food industry.

This flagship deal confirms the strategic value placed on high-quality UK-headquartered businesses by global acquirers. It also reinforces the International credentials of the corporate finance teams at Dow Schofield Watts and Spinnaker Corporate Finance.”