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3 April, 2014 - 10:12 By Tony Quested

Bean business acquisition quickens the pulse

Phaseolus Ltd owners Alan Cooper and Sandra Gawthroup

Phaseolus Ltd, a Cambridge-based supplier of quick frozen beans and pulses has been sold to one of the UK’s premier fruit suppliers for an undisclosed sum.

PEM Corporate Finance in Cambridge advised Phaseolus owners Sandra Gawthroup and Alan Cooper on the sale to Norfolk company Place UK.

Phaseolus sources raw materials globally and boasts a highly specialist knowledge on the performance of its various products.

In addition to high-demand products like red kidney beans and chick peas, Phaseolus also supplies borlotti and cannellini beans, haricot, lentils and split peas.

Place UK is one of the UK’s leading and most diverse suppliers of soft fruits with clients including M&S, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. As well as growing and importing fruits the company also processes cooked/frozen pasta and individually quick frozen (IQF) vegetables.

Place has a longstanding relationship as a supplier to Phaseolus, providing the services of cooking and freezing beans and pulses.

Sandra Gawthroup said: “Place recognised that Phaseolus would be a good fit with their business, and I am confident that it will continue to prosper under their ownership.”

With a pipeline of new products to introduce, Phaseolus’ prospects for growth are strengthened by its new position as part of a larger group. The use of beans and pulses in manufactured food is becoming more popular due to an increased emphasis on healthy eating, as well as their value as a cheaper alternative to meat.

There is an also an ecological push from large manufacturers to reduce their water footprint and substituting pulses for meat protein supports this objective.

Manufacturers are also increasingly aware of the advantages of IQF pulses – including their predictable performance as an ingredient – compared to the alternatives of canned or dried products.

Lake Falconer of PEM Corporate Finance said: “We were pleased to help Sandra and Alan achieve the sale of Phaseolus, which they have built to such a strong position in the UK food market over the last decade since they first began supplying IQF beans and pulses. Place is an ideal buyer which should enable Phaseolus to continue to provide great services to its customers.”

Legal advice to the vendors was provided by Adam Bradley and Sian Scanlon of Taylor Vinters in Cambridge.

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