A round of ‘Applaws’ for ECI Partners and MPM

MPM - natural exceptional responsible exciting

ECI has acquired a majority stake in MPM, the leading premium pet food company, in order to help finance its continuing international expansion.

Macclesfield-based MPM produces high-quality, natural pet foods for discerning cat and dog owners. Within the global pet food market, estimated to be worth £50 billion, the premium niche has been taking market share, helping to drive market value growth in an otherwise low growth category.

The humanisation of pets means that MPM’s natural products are popular with owners wanting to focus on both the quality and health benefits derived from the food they feed their pets.

MPM has been growing revenues by around 25% per annum over the last few years and is expected to generate circa £50 million in global sales this year.

The Company’s products serve the premium natural pet food niche, with its Applaws and Encore brands widely available in both grocery, and specialist stores across the UK and internationally. MPM is well known for its innovation and for its focus on natural, high quality and recognisable ingredients that are derived from ethical and sustainable sources. MPM’s market leading premium products are differentiated in that they are high in meat content and only contain ingredients that are natural in origin.

They include the world’s first grain-free dry food made with up to 80% chicken, Easy Peel transparent pots, with innovative packaging developed to allow shoppers to view the quality of the product before purchase, and ‘Nature’s Calling’, an environmentally friendly cat litter made from walnut shells.

MPM has a strong and growing international business, selling its products in over 33 countries. Less than 40% of revenues are generated in the UK, with 17% derived from the EMEA region, and 12% from Australia and New Zealand. MPM is also growing strongly in the US pet food market, the world’s biggest. Online sales account for 20% of revenues and are growing very strongly.

The MPM management team, headed by CEO Julian Bambridge and CFO James Bracewell, will continue to lead the business, in partnership with ECI. The combination of a differentiated premium product, international growth strategy, and strong ecommerce capabilities makes MPM uniquely positioned to be the pet food brand partner of choice for specialist stores and grocery retailers around the world. MPM was founded by Roger Coleman, Roger Wood and Jon Kinsey, who welcome the financial backing of ECI and will remain as minority shareholders in the business.

ECI specialises in partnering with high-growth companies and has substantial experience of backing businesses in the consumer sector with other current investments including Evans Cycles, Great Rail Journeys, rhubarb, and Encore Tickets. Our investment will help MPM to grow its international business further and to develop its e-commerce strategy.

Mark Keeley, Partner at ECI said:

“As a growth focused investor we are always seeking out market leading, well run growth companies to partner with. MPM is a leading pet food company focused on the attractive and high growth premium pet food market. Pet owners are increasingly concerned about the health and well-being of their cats and dogs and are looking for wholesome, natural, high-quality products. That’s why we believe MPM is very well placed for further growth.

We very much look forward to working with MPM’s experienced team to help realise the company’s full potential.”

Julian Bambridge, CEO of MPM, said:

“We pride ourselves on developing high-quality and innovative products for cats and dogs. Our recipes, with high quality recognisable ingredients, reflect our passion in challenging the additive-filled products that some multinational brands offer to consumers. We are very excited about partnering with ECI as we embark on the next stage of our journey.”

Chris Watt, ECI’s Head of Consumer said:

“MPM is a highly innovative business that is shaking up the pet food category. It has great brands that resonate with pet owners who want the very best for their pets and its products really deliver on this promise. This is a great example of the type of business we want to back in the branded consumer goods space and we are excited about supporting Julian and his team with their plans.”