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Cashing in on the need for animal care products

Lonely, locked-down homeworkers want pets, and pets want treats. Amid a surge in demand for furry friends during the pandemic, Rutland Partners sold care product company Armitage back into a hot pet market. Jason Sinclair reports.

Corporate Financier article image - March 2021 editionIn October 2020, Rutland Partners completed the sale of Armitage Pet Care to Spectrum Brands in the US for £140m. The price reportedly valued the business at 5.7x earnings. Rutland had scooped up the Nottingham-based business three years previously, in September 2017. In between, it had grown sales of its Good Boy choc drops, chicken-coated dumbbells and Meowee! tuna fillet strips – among hundreds of other lines – from £45m per annum to £65m. Armitage supplies more than 2,000 products for pets including dogs, cats, birds and fish via supermarkets and specialist retailers.

The trump card on the sale was held by Rutland. “It was all capital-funded on completion,” says Ben Slatter, a partner at Rutland. “We weren’t going to accept a structure with earn-outs to hit. They could see the performance of the business, and we structured things in a way that was attractive to us, and to the management vendors as well.”