Business Enterprise Award 2016

Karro Food Group

Yorkshire Business Enterprise Award – KARRO FOOD GROUP

Presented by Karen Wilczek, Head of Office, Leeds at AON

To: Michael Kestemont

Michael Kestemont was born in Belgium but moved to the UK after graduating and worked for a number of years as a strategy consultant in London. From there he moved to the meat industry, working for VION UK. He became CFO of VION UK’s pork business shortly before the buyout by Endless LLP and the creation of Karro in 2013 and has been CFO of Karro since then. Michael is married and has two young children.

Headquartered in Malton, North Yorkshire, Karro Food Group is the new name of the former UK pork division of Vion Food Group. In January 2013 Karro acquired the UK pork division of Vion as a partnership between the local management team and Leeds based Private Equity firm, Endless.

With a turnover of circa £500m, and employing around 3,000 people, Karro has operations across the UK, with 7 locations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Karro is one of the leading producers of bacon, gammon, fresh pork, frozen sausage, ham and cooked meats, supplying high quality meat products to retail, foodservice and manufacturing customers across the UK. They process circa 45,000 pigs each week for delivery to the UK’s major supermarkets and wholesale food suppliers markets, all with full supply chain visibility. Karro pork is eaten by millions of consumers every year, and is stocked across the country by leading retailers.

They also have an accreditation in export markets globally and this is a key focus for their business strategy. Karro also have strong farming links across the country going back many years; in fact, many of the farmers in their Yorkshire farm base have been working with Karro for over three generations. This approach has helped Karro secure an award winning reputation for optimal welfare standards and high quality pork products, and ensures they have unrivalled production chain traceability.

Three years on and Karro has now established itself as a key strategic player in the sector and through operational and commercial focus has delivered EBITDA improvement of over £22million in its first two years of ownership. The business has reported pre-tax profits of £12.5m for the year to 26 December 2015, up from a pre-tax loss of £12.2m the year before. This increasing success has brought security to the workforce, suppliers and customers and created the confidence for key stakeholders to grow long-term strategic partnerships with the business.

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