Forza AW and Kober Bought Through Normanton Based Firm

13 January 2016

ASDA’s Normanton based subsidiary International Procurement and Logistics (IPL) has bought two meat manufacturing businesses that are both major suppliers to the supermarket chain.

Sister companies Forza AW and Kober, which were owned by entrepreneur Max Smith-Hilliard, produce Asda's own-label cooked meat and bacon products. The businesses are major employers in West Yorkshire and employ around 1,800 people in total.

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

IPL's senior management team of chief executive Nick Scrase, finance director Sian Land, and head of legal Varinder Rehal have joined the boards at each company, with Mr Hilliard-Smith the only Forza and Kober director to remain in post.

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.

"Max has worked hard to build these businesses and he will therefore join IPL to run our protein division."

Cooked meats manufacturer Forza AW acheived £300m turnover for the first time in the 53 weeks to January 3, 2015, and generated pre-tax profits of £23.5m.

Cleckheaton-based Kober, which supplies bacon rashers, steaks and joints, employs about 560 staff. Its most recent published accounts, for the year to January 3, 2015, show sales of £141m and pre-tax profits of £2.17m.