Buyers circle as shortbread firm chiefs step down

Alan Hardie and co-owner Ian Appleton are selling up. Picture: TSPL
Alan Hardie and co-owner Ian Appleton are selling up. Picture: TSPL
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One of Scotland’s best-known food brands is up for sale after its owners decided to retire.

Paterson Arran, which produces shortbread, oatcakes, jams, chutney and relishes, said that owners Alan Hardie and Ian Appleton were speaking to a number of potential buyers in a sale process being managed by PwC.

Paterson Arran employs about 160 people at its Livingston bakery and headquarters and around 28 staff at Lamlash, on the Isle of Arran.

The company has invested more than £2.7 million in plant and machinery over the last four years.

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All the potential buyers are from the food and drink industry and have the financial strength to invest in the company to continue the strong growth seen over recent years.

Managing director Hardie, who together with Appleton has owned the company for 21 years, said: “I am very proud of what we have accomplished since we bought the company and the way we have preserved the traditions of Paterson Arran, while modernising the company and taking the company into new markets both for products and geographically.”

Some 11 million packs of Paterson’s shortbread were sold in 2015.