A private equity fund chaired by Sir Bob Geldof, 8 Miles LLP, has snapped up a 19.5% stake in Northamptonshire headquartered Blue Skies Holdings Limited from its shareholders. 8 Miles is a fund focused on investing in consumer-driven businesses operating in Africa with high growth prospects. Blue Skies suited 8 Miles perfectly: it supplies supermarkets in the UK and across the world with fresh cut fruit and freshly squeezed fruit juice.
Blue Skies operates farms and factories that supply and process fruit into finished consumer products, in Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Senegal, and Brazil. The products are then airfreighted to the UK and other countries in Europe. Employment and wealth is thus created in the countries where the fruit grows. Because the fruit is processed and packed as soon as it is harvested, the consumer enjoys a superior taste and texture. Alternative suppliers import the harvested fruit and then process it in the UK. Crucially, the quality of the produce processed in the UK is inferior to Blue Skies’ products.
Blue Skies shareholders were advised on the 8 Miles investment by accountants MacIntyre Hudson and solicitors Howes Percival. Craig Chamberlain from the corporate finance team at MacIntyre Hudson said “Blue Skies is a very successful business with deep experience of operating in Africa and fits perfectly with 8 Miles’ focus area. It was a pleasure working with Howes Percival and Blue Skies on a deal that will help to support the continued success of the business”.
Gerald Couldrake Corporate Partner at Howes Percival led the team giving legal advice on the deal. “Blue Skies is a wonderful business” Gerald commented “and with 8 Miles’ support it will grow from strength to strength. We really enjoyed working to achieve a successful completion with our colleagues from MacIntyre Hudson, and the Blue Skies team”. Anthony Pile, Blue Skies founder and Chairman said “this is a significant step for Blue Skies, as we look to branch out into new products and new markets in all parts of the World in this post-referendum era. The teamwork and support from MacIntyre Hudson and Howes Percival really made the difference to a complex deal. Since we founded Blue Skies in 1997 it has grown to a turnover in excess of £90 million and has operations in Africa, UK and South America. To have an investor of the quality of 8 Miles should help the business”.