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Group sells flour mills in bid for consolidation; ACQUISITION COREENA FORD coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk.

CARR'S Group will be plough ing all of its efforts into its ag riculture and engineering di visions after disposing of its food business in a PS36m deal.

The Carlisle-headquartered firm, which has a sizeable presence in the North East, has announced it has sold off Carr's Flour Mills Ltd to flour milling business Whitworths Hold ings Limited for a gross considera tion of PS36m.

The net consideration after adjust ments will be PS24.9m - and a major highlight of the deal is the fact that PS16m will be returned to sharehold ers.

The firm said: "The disposal will support our ambition to achieve growth and development in line with the group's strategic goal of being an international company at the fore front of innovation and technology across both of its remaining busi nesses of agriculture and engineer ing."

Net proceeds received amount to PS24.9m and the PS16m will be returned to shareholders in the form of a special dividend of 17.54p per share.

The remaining PS8.9m provides balance sheet strength and the opportunity to expand the group's continuing businesses, both by acquisition and organic growth, while the ongoing focus of the business is on high-value markets within agriculture and engineering.

Tim Davies, chief executive of Carr's, said: "The sale of Carr's Flour Mills Ltd represents an exciting stage in Carr's strategic development. At a time of increasing competition and volatility in the flour market, consoli dation is essential and inevitable. "This acquisition by Whitworths presents a great opportunity for the food division to continue building on the strong foundations laid over many years. On behalf of the Carr's board, I would like to thank every one who has contributed to the divi sion's success.

"We will continue to focus on our strategy of delivering growth in our UK agriculture business, the devel opment of our international feed supplement businesses and building our specialist engineering division in niche markets across the globe.

"Carr's continues to benefit from both operational and geographic diversity and a strong balance sheet and we look forward to an exciting future focused on delivering growth in our higher margin products and services within the agriculture and engineering divisions."

Martin George, chairman of Whit worths Holdings Limited, added: "The Whitworths Board is delighted with the announcement of the acquisition of Carr's Flour Mills Ltd from Carr's Group plc by Whitworths Holdings Limited on 3 September 2016.

"Carr's Flour Mills Ltd shares a similar history to Whitworths in that it is a long-standing business which has received material investment in recent years. The business is a great fit geographically and will give us access to the South East, North of England and Scottish markets that would otherwise not be available, and means we have national reach.

"I would like to welcome the employees who join us from Carr's Flour Mills Ltd."

The sale of Carr's Flour Mills Ltd represents an exciting stageTim Davies

CAPTION(S):

Tim Davies, Carr's Milling Industries chief executive

Carr's Kirkcaldy Flour Mill which has now been sold to new owners

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 6, 2016
Words:509
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