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Keswick Enterprises acquires co-packer APS

Packaging Solutions

The Keswick Enterprises Group has acquired 100% of the equity of Northumberland based Assembly and Packing Services Limited (APS).

After several years of international logistics and co-packing experience, Keswick Enterprises moved into UK contract packing and fulfilment in 2008 with the acquisition of food and confectionery co-packer SGL Co-packing Limited, based at Nelson in Lancashire. Under Keswick’s stewardship this business has almost doubled in size, and further growth is anticipated after recent significant investment in facilities and equipment.

APS – which has been in Blyth since it was formed 35 years ago by managing director, Judith Leighton and her sister in law Margaret Watson – is one of the UK's leading non food contract packing companies. It has extensive expertise in assembling, collating and packing merchandise and giftware for manufacturers, importers and retailers.

Judith said, ‘The acquisition is the result of six months work to identify and secure the best new owner. Keswick Enterprises already has a strong track record in contract packing, and I am delighted to announce that it will be taking the business forwards. It also owns a number of complementary businesses – which will add to APS's capabilities. Above all, however, it has the right ethos and share our values.’

APS has been at the forefront of its sector for more than three decades, and has been the co-packer for multinationals like Procter & Gamble, Diversey, L'Oreal, Nike and The Body Shop, along with local manufacturers and printers.

The business currently employs over 80 permanent staff, but is able to expand to 250 with temporary recruitment to meet seasonal demand. It is based at a 65,000 square foot factory/fulfilment centre and offices on a substantial site on the Blyth Riverside Industrial Estate, with space for further growth. There is also a satellite facility in Derby.

Keswick Enterprises’ main board director Gavin Withers will join APS as chairman, while fellow main board director Barry Croft will also take a place on the divisional board. The APS management team will remain in situ, and Judith has agreed to stay as a strategic advisor to the business.

Gavin Withers commented, ‘Everyone at Keswick Enterprises is very conscious of the goodwill, staff loyalty and heritage of APS. Co-packing and fulfilment are at the centre of our strategic focus, and we bring longstanding international experience to the business. APS will add substantially to our capabilities, and we hope in due course to offer enhanced opportunities for the good people of Blyth.’

Judith added, ‘As part of The Keswick Enterprises Group, APS will benefit from significant investment for future development and growth, as well as enhanced capabilities in sourcing, logistics and systems. It is a really exciting time for everyone involved.’

The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

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