Montezuma’s confectionery gains major private equity investment

Premium confectionery business Montezuma’s has gained a major financial investment from Scottish-based private equity firm Inverleith LLP, a specialist in consumer brands investments.

The UK chocolate manufacturer, which last month was profiled in Confectionery Production, was created by Helen and Simon Pattinson. From its creation 18 years ago, the business has built up to enjoy particular success as an independent manufacturer, reaching an annual turnover of around £10 million.

Financial details surrounding the investment have not been revealed, but Inverleith, based in Edinburgh, has acquired a controlling stake in the business, though it confirmed that its founders would stay on as directors within the company, which has production facilities near Chichester, West Sussex. It employs a total of around 150 people including its retail stores within the south of England.

Among its premium product range are chocolate bars, truffles and gifting products, as well as operating a subscription ‘Chocolate Club’ and has expanded its operations to export across Europe, as well as recently gaining deal to export to the US, through the trader Joe’s retail outlets.

The business has built its reputation on delivering high ethical standards, and combines this with an innovative and fun approach to chocolate manufacturing and is recognised for the quality of its chocolate and its award-winning flavour profiles. All its products are manufactured in the UK at its own facilities. As the business explained to Confectionery Production, it has enjoyed strong fortunes with its product range and expanding its markets, but it has faced challenges from the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, with a number of its employees from mainland Europe.

According to the company, the investment from Inverleith LLP will see the business expand the distribution of its chocolate products for both domestic and overseas markets. It will continue its focus on developing new ranges, with products such as its vegan, dairy free, “Like No Udder” chocolate bar as well as its ground-breaking 100% cocoa “Absolute Black” products.

Commenting on the Inverleith LLP investment, co-founder Helen Pattinson said: “We are delighted to have secured Inverleith LLP as the majority investor into Montezuma’s. After eighteen years at the helm, we knew this was the right time to seek additional investment and the right partner. It was extremely important for us to find and work with an investor partner who would recognise and respect the company and brand we have created and love, our values, our innovative approach and the quality of our products.”

Simon Pattinson said: ‘We feel Inverleith fully understands the brand’s future, shares our continued passion for what we have developed and will ensure that we capture new opportunities for the brand both at home and overseas.

Commenting on the acquisition, Inverleith LLP managing partner, Paul Skipworth, added: ‘Montezuma’s is a fantastic addition to Inverleith’s expanding portfolio of consumer investments. Montezuma’s long-standing ethical position and track record of innovation position the brand perfectly to capture strong consumer desire for authentic, premium, artisanal brands. Montezuma’s is a quality British chocolate manufacturer with exciting product innovation in areas such as dark, 100% cocoa, flavoured and vegan and non-dairy chocolates. It is already a leading player in the high growth segments of the chocolate market with enormous opportunity for the brand both in the UK and internationally.’


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