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Agrial to Acquire UK’s Largest Independent Cider Maker

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Agrial to Acquire UK’s Largest Independent Cider Maker

Agrial to Acquire UK’s Largest Independent Cider Maker
September 05
08:49 2018

Agrial, the French farming, food and beverage co-operative, is continuing to pursuing its international development with the acquisition of Aston Manor to expand operations to Great Britain, the largest cider market in the world. Agrial’s Beverage Division is the leading player in the French cider market and is already present in the United States.

Birmingham-based Aston Manor is the UK’s largest independent cider producer and the second leading player on the British cider market. The company was created in 1983 and has been owned by its founders, the Ellis family, since that time. They developed a dual expertise with a successful range of brands such as Kingstone Press, Frosty Jack’s and Knights and strong partnerships with British retailers to create own-label products. With 300 employees, the company has four production sites in Stourport (close to Worcester), Witton and Aston (Birmingham) and Tiverton (close to Exeter). In 2017, Aston Manor generated a turnover of £134 million and exported its products to more than 20 countries around the globe.

Agrial’s Beverage Division Eclor leads the French cider market, namely owing to its Ecusson, Loïc Raison and La Mordue cider brands. It is also present on the American market with its Manzana and Seattle Cider companies. With 800 employees, including around one hundred in the US, Eclor has made international development its priority as part of Agrial’s ‘Horizon 2025’ strategy. As the French cider market is facing structural decline, this expansion is a sign of confidence and longevity for the co-operative’s 600 cider apple producers.

Marc Roubaud, managing director of Eclor, comments: “It was crucial to significantly strengthen our international presence on the cider market by gaining a foothold in the world’s leading market, which is comparable to ours and our members’ orchards. Aston Manor and Eclor are similar companies, with shared priorities both in terms of popular brands as well as own-label products, and we are thrilled to join forces to give our customers an expanded portfolio.”

According to Gordon Johncox, chief executive of Aston Manor: “Aston Manor was looking for a partner that would allow us to continue the growth and development underway now for several years. With Eclor, we have found a strong and ambitious partner. The fact that Agrial is a cooperative was also a deciding factor for us, because we can be sure of choosing a company with similar values. Aston Manor’s management is very pleased with this agreement.”

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