The plan for London-based private equity firm Zetland Capital, which specialises in distressed and special situations across Europe, to secure a majority shareholding in Typhoo from Apeejay Surrendra Group and its lenders has been worked on for the past few months. Now the deal has been finalised and announced. Current shareholder Abercross has also expanded its shareholding in the business.
In an exclusive interview in 2017, former chief executive of Typhoo, Somnath Saha said the plummeting value of the pound after the announcement of Brexit had hit profits heavily, making importing tea much more expensive. The company declared a £20m loss in the year to 31 March 2018 and a £29.9m loss in the following financial year. While Saha moved on to become group commercial director at Poundstretcher, Des Kingsley succeeded him at the helm and a restructure was announced in 2020, entailing job losses at its factory in Moreton, Wirral.
“This deal marks a new era in the ownership of Typhoo Tea,” said Des Kingsley, chief executive of the business. “It has secured major investment that will enable us to reassert our brands both in the UK and internationally to deliver profitable growth.
‘Challenging two years’
“After a challenging two years, we are pleased that we can now continue with our programme of rebuilding one of the nation’s favourite tea brands. We have plans in place that will result in the creation of new jobs across all areas of the business. We are delighted that Zetland’s support will allow us to invest in our factory and ensure a bright future for the company.”
Typhoo boasts more than 100 years’ experience in tea development, being the first brand to sell ready-packaged tea and the first tea brand to introduce a green tea blend into the UK.
The company also produces a wide range of brands in the growing herbal and fruit infusion market. Its brands include London Fruit & Herb, Ridgways, Glengettie, Fresh Brew and Melrose’s and it is the leading own-label supplier in the UK.
Ahmed Hamdani, founder and chief investment officer at Zetland Capital, said: “Our partnership will enable investment at an important time for the company and we are confident that Typhoo can regain its reputation as one of Britain’s most loved brands and drive innovation in the sector.”
Issam Hamid, managing partner of Abercross said: “Typhoo Tea has incredible capacity for growth both in the UK and overseas.”