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Bunzl buys Bristol-based Nisbets and makes first acquisition in Finland

27 February 2024
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Bunzl, the international distribution and services giant, continues to expand, announcing the acquisition of Bristol-based catering equipment firm Nisbets for an initial £339 million in cash.

Family firm Nisbets distributes in the UK and Ireland, Northern Europe and Australasia and has more than 1,800 employees.

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Bunzl has now inked a deal to acquire an 80% stake in Nisbets and associated entities. The Nisbets management team will remain with the group after the acquisition, which is still subject to regulatory approval.

Andrew Nisbet will act as a non-executive director and the family will continue to hold a minority interest in Nisbets.

In a stock market statement, Bunzl also said its first acquisition in Finland - of Pamark, which distributes cleaning hygiene, and food service products - was expected to close this month, and which will increase the number of countries Bunzl operates in to 33.

"The acquisition of Nisbets is an exciting step for Bunzl," said Frank van Zanten, the CEO of Bunzl.

"Andrew Nisbet has built a high-quality business, with a well-respected management team. The business is complementary to our operations in the catering equipment sector and will enhance our own brand offering and digital capabilities."

Van Zanten added: "Pamark is our first acquisition in Finland and provides us with a strong platform from which to grow our presence across multiple end market segments in the country, supporting further expansion of our footprint in the Nordic region.

"This is an excellent start to 2024, maintaining the strong acquisition momentum of recent years. Our pipeline remains active, supported by the strength of our balance sheet."

The acquisition includes put/call options, which will enable Bunzl to acquire the remaining 20% stake at a price based on Nisbets' financial performance at the time, and will be financed using Bunzl's existing cash resources and debt facilities.

It is expected to be "meaningfully accretive" to earnings per share (EPS) in the first full year following completion, said Bunzl.

In the year to end-December 2023, Bunzl posted revenue of £11.8 billion, slightly down from £12 billion in 2022.


Giles Gwinnett is a writer at The Business Magazine. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and covered a vast array of topics at a range of media settings - in print and online. After his NCTJ newspaper training, he became a reporter in Hampshire before moving to a news agency in Gloucestershire. In recent years, he has been covering the financial markets along with company news for an investor-focused web portal. His many interests include politics, energy and the environment. He lives in Dorset.

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