Cheese deal reflects Temple Bright’s taste for thriving food sector

Bristol boutique law firm Temple Bright has provided support to cheese importer Futura Foods UK in a deal to sell a 50% stake in the business to Danish dairy company Nordex Foods.

The pan-European deal is the latest in a long line of food industry successes for Temple Bright – in the past 12 months it has worked on deals for the high-profile Bristol food companies Pieminister and Parsons Bakery, as well as the promising Bristol startup Koji Drinks.

Temple Bright co-founder Tim Summers said: “It’s great to see this latest deal over the line because it means Futura now has the ownership structure it needs for the business to continue to thrive.

“This is yet another example of the kind of support we keep delivering for the West’s thriving food industry, which boasts so many high-quality businesses, from Yeo Valley to Thatchers Cider to Pieminister.”

The deal looks a good move for both Dursley-based Futura and new co-owner Nordex. Futura, which has been in business for 20 years, has a dominant position in dairy products from Greece, Italy, Spain and Cyprus in the UK market while Nordex has a leading position in a similar niche producing and supplying specialist white cheeses to several countries in northern Europe.

By banding together, the two expect to enjoy synergies in their supply of the specialist cheeses of southern Europe and offer an even wider range to customers. In addition Futura will also benefit for the first time from selling Nordex Food’s large range of self-produced white cheeses into the UK market.

The deal was supported by Paul Stone at Temple Bright, working closely with lawyers from Danish law firm Bech-Bruun.

Paul said: “There was a high level of trust on both sides in pulling this together, which helped to get the deal over the line quickly.

“Futura had complex shareholdings which are simpler now under the new ownership arrangements. The international dimension to the transaction also posed some challenges in reconciling English and Danish laws but owing to the parties’ collaborative attitude this didn’t cause any hold-ups. Nordex Foods’ backing for Futura promises great things for both sides.”

Three months ago Temple Bright, which launched three years ago, made the headlines supporting the bakery business Parsons in securing seven-figure bank and VC funding to increase its outlets from 34 to 70 within three years. Last autumn it also helped iconic Bristol pie business Pieminister secure a four-acre site in North Bristol to support its expansion.

Tim added: “It’s been a really interesting 12 months for Temple Bright as we gain a reputation among food businesses to go with our other support for other sectors, like hi-tech and property.

“It’s something we hope and expect to be able to build on.”

The firm has a groundbreaking “chambers practice” business model, involving a team of exclusively senior solicitors who have joined from leading commercial firms. Its lawyers handle corporate, commercial, dispute resolution, real estate, IP/tech, employment and construction/engineering work, with notable recent sector expertise in hi-tech, property development/investment and food and drink from offices in Bristol and London’s Shoreditch.

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 28 June 2013.