As part of the acquisition Marston’s enters into a long-term exclusive agreement to supply all beer, wine, spirits and minerals to Thwaites’ pub estate.
The transaction is expected to complete on 17 April. In the 12 months to December 2014 EBITDA is estimated to have been around £7m before overheads of approximately £2m. The acquisition is expected to be earnings-enhancing in the first full year of ownership; in the current financial year it is estimated that the contribution to profit before taxation will be around £1.5m.
The deal sees Marston’s take control of the Thwaites’ businesses that sell and wholesale beers to the independent free trade, national pub companies, wholesalers, supermarkets and export.
It also includes beer brands, Wainwright Golden Ale and Lancaster Bomber, which Thwaites has owned since 2007 and 2011 respectively.
Thwaites retains ownership of its’ craft beer brands and other cask ale brands, including its seasonal ale range, which it will continue to brew and sell in its’ own properties.
Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “I am delighted to welcome our new colleagues to Marston’s. We are acquiring a very high quality business with good people and brands, and with growth potential. The acquisition is consistent with our beer business strategy to focus on local provenance and premium brands, and provides opportunity to capitalise on the developing free trade market and increasing consumer interest in the beer category.”
Marston’s has been brewing Thwaites’ beers since early 2014. The company described its new acquisition as having a “high quality sales business of scale” and had shown good growth in recent years, including the acquisition of Hydes Brewery’s free trade business in 2012.
Thwaites chief executive Richard Bailey said: “This is a very exciting development which allows us to focus on our pubs, inns and hotels, whilst retaining a small brewery to continue to supply our own properties with our fantastic beers and opening up a wider drinks range to our customers through a long term supply deal with Marston’s.
“We are delighted that our beer business will find a new home in a company that is as passionate about the quality of beer that we have always been and will provide ongoing employment for the vast majority of our employees affected.
”It is our intention to redeploy the proceeds into both our existing, and new properties and the sale of our third party beer business allows us to move forward with our strategy to provide superb hospitality in outstanding properties in great locations.”
CAMRA said it was 'very concerned' about the takeover. Head of communications, Tom Stainer, said: "The Campaign for Real Ale believes that consumer choice is always reduced when breweries are acquired by larger operators and we're very concerned about the takeover of Thwaites, a long-established and respected regional family brewer, by Marston's.
"While Marston's has a relatively good history of respecting brewing heritage when it has previously taken over other breweries, such as Wychwood and Jennings, CAMRA will be paying close attention to its plans for the Thwaites brands it has just acquired. We'd urge Marston's to ensure that the individual nature and taste of Thwaites' brands are not diluted and lost as a result of this acquisition."