Ansons Solicitors advises The Avril Group on its acquisition of The Kerfoot Group and broadens the scope of its activities in the UK

17th August 2015

Ansons Solicitors corporate team based in Cannock and Lichfield, Staffordshire advised The Avril Group (, the French industrial and financial leader in the oilseeds and proteins sector, which announced signature of an agreement on its acquisition of The Kerfoot Group (, a family-led UK group specialising in the packaging and distribution of vegetable and speciality oils on 3 August 2015.

Through this acquisition, Avril will be markedly increasing its presence in the UK, reaching a new stage in the international development of Saipol's vegetable oil production.

Ultimately, Avril could also benefit from new growth prospects in the table oils market.

Founded in 1980, The Kerfoot Group specialises in the packaging and distribution of oils – bulk and packaged edible oils, speciality oils and fats – which are mainly destined for the food service market but also for the personal care and restaurant and catering industries.

The Kerfoot Group employs 113 people and in 2014 achieved turnover worth £74 million; it is based in Northallerton in North Yorkshire (UK), and has industrial facilities in the port of Goole (East Yorkshire). The current Group Chairman is its founder, David Kerfoot, while Jennifer Kerfoot is the Chief Executive.

A subsidiary of the Avril Group, Saipol produces and sells in France refined vegetable oils that are used for foods, protein-rich animal feeds, biodiesel under the Diester® brand (8% of which is included in the fuel used by all French diesel vehicles), and vegetable glycerine which has numerous industrial applications.

This operation consolidates a longstanding partnership between Avril and The Kerfoot Group, as Saipol has been a supplier of rapeseed and sunflower oils ever since The Kerfoot Group’s creation.

The Kerfoot family will retain a shareholding in The Kerfoot Group and will maintain involvement and commitment to its success in the future.

Jean-Philippe Puig, CEO of Avril: “For the past 35 years, The Kerfoot Group has grown considerably while remaining faithful to the entrepreneurial spirit and customer service ethos that drove its creation. Together, we share the same values and the same vision for the oils and proteins sector. Avril is particularly proud of this new stage in its international development, which offers new growth prospects for our activities in the UK.”

David Kerfoot, Chairman of The Kerfoot Group: “In recent years, we have made major changes that have favoured the Group's growth and allowed it to occupy a unique place in the British market. These ties with Avril are wholly integral to the development of our activities and ambitions for the future.”

The details of this operation are confidential and will not be divulged.

The Ansons corporate team was led by partners Hilary D’Cruz and Neil Jones, with support from senior associate solicitor Julian Milan and solicitors Jamie Gill and Emma Wells. Ansons carried out all the legal due diligence concerning legal and financial operations, worked on the sale and purchase agreements, and fulfilled the necessary disclosure requirements.

The corporate team were able to rely on further support by other departments at Ansons including the commercial property team, led by senior partner Simon James, on property and planning issues and the employment team, led by partner Martin de Ridder, for employment matters.

Ansons Solicitors have a growing reputation in such transactions, having represented the French company Capital Mind on an acquisition five years ago.