Sale could take Suffolk brewery to the next level

The Feast East food festival 2010 at Chilford Hall.; St Peter's Brewery Colin Cordy; Photo:Sonya Dun

The Feast East food festival 2010 at Chilford Hall.; St Peter's Brewery Colin Cordy; Photo:Sonya Duncan; Copy:; For: EDP; EDP pics © 2010; (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Bosses at a Suffolk brewery are confident the business could grow tenfold if the right buyer can be found to take the business to the next level.

St Peters Brewery looks set to be sold for up to £15m as chairman and founder John Murphy seeks to exit the business ahead of his retirement next year.

The firm, which last year scooped the EDP Business Award international business category, is an export success story selling a diverse range of bottled beers in about 35 different overseas markets.

While the for sale sign has yet to be officially put up at the business, which employs 35 staff at its base in St Peters Hall, at South Elmham, near Bungay, the firm is actively considering the move to bring in new owners to take the business to the next level of growth.

Colin Cordy, managing director, said: 'The facts are that John Murphy, our chairman is 70 next year. He doesn't have any children or a dynasty to pass the business on to.

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'He has always said he would like to retire all his business interests by the time he reached that milestone.

'We believe we have taken the business as far as we can,' he said.

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'The difference with most other UK breweries is that we are pretty much an international brand, rather than a brewer that just makes beer in its own area.'

However, Mr Cordy said he did not expect the business to receive much interest from big UK breweries, including Greene King, which were more interested in their pub businesses.

He said the potential sale reflected a growing belief that the economy may be coming out the other side with potential suitors, who have been stockpiling cash, willing to invest.

'John's belief is that we can probably grow tenfold in the next three to five years,' Mr Cordy said.

'It will come to market at some point,' he added. 'We are looking for a premium on our business to reflect the major status of our brand – it's really a question of finding the right person.

'I think it's fairly unlikely that someone would come in and close the business down. John in particular would be disappointed if that happened.'

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