Surprise takeover of Kite Consulting by AB Agri

Dairy adviser Kite Consulting has been bought for an undisclosed sum by a division of Associated British Foods in a surprise move.

AB Agri, which announced the acquisition on Thursday (1 December), has also acquired Kite’s sister company, Advance Sourcing.

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John Allen, a founder and managing partner at Kite Consulting, said Kite would continue to operate an independent consultancy business and, as such, it was “business as usual’’ for its clients.

The decision to join forces with AB Agri, which also owns KW Alternative Feeds and (in a joint venture with Cargill) Frontier Agriculture, was made for a number of reasons, said Mr Allen, but principally it was to allow investment and growth.

“It is a new chapter but our clients won’t notice any changes in the way we provide advice and support, it will just enable business growth.’’

The businesses, he suggested, were compatible because both had identified that producing dairy products sustainably for growing global demand is key to the future.

“When AB Agri approached us, we could see that our values were very similar.

“They want to create business in that space and approached us to do that for them,’’ said Mr Allen.

“Kite wants to help its clients grow dairy in the UK to supply the world, especially as processors and policy makers want to see dairy exports grow.’’

Kite Consulting will remain a standalone independent business, but within the AB Agri portfolio.

Mr Allen created Kite Consulting with others in 2000 to provide advice to farmers, food processors and retailers. It subsequently incorporated in 2005.

It is now recognised as a specialist in the UK dairy industry and also works with livestock and arable businesses.

Advance Sourcing supplies specialist products aimed at improving herd performance, such as feed, grass seed and silage additives.

AB Agri is in turn owned by international food, ingredients and retail business Associated British Foods (ABF).

ABF has global sales of £13.9bn, 133,000 employees and operates in 53 countries across Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

Within its UK portfolio are British Sugar and retailer Primark, as well as many well-known brands such as Twinings teas, Jordans’ cereal products, Ryvita and Patak’s pickles.

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