Asda buys key meat suppliers Forza AW and Kober

Retailer Asda has purchased two of its key meat suppliers. 

Forza AW and Kober, which were owned by entrepreneur Max Smith-Hilliard, produce Asda’s own-label cooked meat and bacon products. Between them they employ around 1,800 people in total.

Following a five-year joint venture with the two suppliers, the supermarket exercised its right to purchase the two businesses and add them to its portfolio.

The deals have been done through Asda’s International Procurement and Logistics (IPL), which runs the supermarket group’s whole produce retail business.

IPL chief executive Nick Scrase said: “Our one defining strategy that drives our business model is to simplify supply chains by cutting out the middle-man and then passing these cost savings onto Asda customers.

“We have had a hugely successful partnership with Max Smith-Hilliard over the last five years which has driven significant savings and created a world-class business which we are proud to be bringing into the IPL family.

Scrase, finance director Sian Land, and head of legal Varinder Rehal have all joined the boards at each company. Hilliard-Smith will remain at the business as well.

He added: “Max has worked hard to build these businesses and he will therefore join IPL to run our protein division.”

Cooked meats manufacturer Forza AW saw a £300m turnover in the 53 weeks to January 3, 2015, and generated pre-tax profits of £23.5m while Kober, which supplies bacon rashers, steaks and joints, saw sales of £141m and pre-tax profits of £2.17m for the same period.

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