Chase cashes in chips amid vodka successes

Gambit Corporate Finance has advised on the sale of William Chase's remaining investment in Herefordshire-based Tyrrells Potato Chips to private equity fund Langholm Capital.

The sale of the final stake allows Mr Chase to focus on his Chase Distillery business, whose vodka was recently named the best in the world.

William Chase founded the award-winning Tyrrells brand of premium crisps in 2002 and the business grew rapidly, reaching sales of £13 million in the year to March 2008.

The deal, which was for an undisclosed sum, brings Langholm's total investment in Tyrrells to £27.5 million since it made the acquisition in 2008.

Mr Chase said: "I am very proud of what Tyrrells has achieved since I established it in 2002.

"It is time for me to move on and focus all my energies into developing Chase Distillery, which is now firmly established and has huge potential."

Gambit Corporate Finance partner Adrian Jones was lead adviser to William Chase, HBJ Gately Wareing partner Simon Gill acted as legal adviser and RSM Tenon Tax director Michael Tuhme provided tax advice.

Mr Jones, who also acts as non-executive director at Chase Distillery, said: "I am delighted that William is able to focus all of his efforts now on the development of Chase Distillery.

"We are now distributing products to many different countries worldwide and the future is certainly very exciting."

Chase Vodka was awarded Best Vodka in the World at the 2010 San Francisco Spirits Awards.

It is manufactured using traditional methods and using potatoes from Mr Chase's farms.

The vodka is sold by retailers such as Waitrose and John Lewis as well as being stocked by many of Birmingham's city centre bars and restaurants including Purnell's, Opus, Primitivo, Metro and Chameleon.

Meanwhile the Tyrrells crisps brand has become known for its mixed root vegetable crisps and premium potato crisps.

Since Langholm's original investment in Tyrrells, sales have more than doubled as distribution has been expanded.

In the current financial year to March 2011, sales are expected to reach £26.1 million. Its products are widely distributed across the UK and France as well as in 40 other countries.

Key to success is the taste and quality of the product, which comes from Tyrrells use of special potato varieties such as Lady Rosetta and Lady Claire.

Bert Weigman, managing partner of Langholm Capital, said: "Tyrrells is a strong and growing brand recognised for its high quality, provenance and innovation.

"The business has grown very successfully since our investment in 2008.

"We wish William Chase continued success with Chase Distillery."

Tyrrells has recently reinforced its reputation for innovation with the launch of Tyrrells Furrows and is about to launch Tyrrells Proper Popcorn.

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