CHRÁŠŤANY, CZECH REPUBLIC — VAFO Group announced its acquisition of Pooch & Mutt, a UK pet food company, on July 12. The “multimillion-euro deal,” as detailed by VAFO, builds on the company’s partnership with Pooch & Mutt, which originally began in 2020.
In early 2020, VAFO gained a minority share in Pooch & Mutt, helping drive growth for the UK pet food company. In 2022, VAFO increased its share in the company to 40%, and has now acquired the remaining 60% of the company.
According to VAFO, Pooch & Mutt has witnessed significant growth, expanding more than 400% over the past few years, and is set to achieve a turnover of £18 million ($23.5 million USD) this year.
“Pooch & Mutt’s growth since our first investment has been incredible,” said Petr Kriz, board member responsible for VAFO Group’s M&A strategy. “A lot of companies promise big things in investment pitches, but few deliver. Pooch & Mutt promised very big things and delivered far beyond them. The team has done an outstanding job and they will be a huge asset to the group.”
Following the acquisition, Pooch & Mutt Founder Guy Blaskey will remain with the company as chief visionary officer and will also join VAFO’s management team. Paul Dennison, managing director at Pooch & Mutt, will take over the day-to-day operations of the company along with its current management team.
“We have been part of the VAFO Family for a few years now, and it genuinely does feel like a family,” Blaskey said. “We are all aligned on making great quality products to help pets lead their best lives. Unlike many corporate takeovers, this is not an exercise in efficiencies and cost cutting. VAFO has supported our growth over the last few years, during which time we have trebled out staff, quadruped our turnover, and developed a whole host of amazing new products.
“The success is not just about the Pooch & Mutt brand,” he added. “As part of the VAFO family, we are the UK representatives for all of their manufacturing capabilities, which are the best and broadest in the European pet food market. We are working with them to supply some of the largest retailers in the country. Later in the year, we have a second brand launching, Planet Pet Society, which has been a ‘pet project’ of mine to develop the world’s most sustainable pet food based on Second Chance Ingredients. Additionally, we are using our significant online capabilities to grow the group’s digital business across Europe. This is a really exciting time for me, for the team and Pooch & Mutt, and for the whole group.”
In addition to the acquisition, VAFO also shared it has further advanced its sustainability efforts. Under its Finnish subsidiary Prima Pet Premium, the company has formed an agreement with Kaukokiito, a company that uses biodiesel produced by Neste, to transport VAFO products using renewable diesel. The agreement is expected to reduce VAFO’s carbon emissions by 87%.
As of the beginning of July, all domestic transportation of VAFO’s products from its new facility in Finland will be provided by Kaukokiito. According to the companies, the diesel is made from 100% renewable materials and can reduce exhaust emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil fuels.
The agreement is just part of VAFO’s sustainable operations at the Finnish facility. The facility is completely compatible with biogas, includes recycling systems for water and heat, uses materials from local suppliers, and will soon derive energy from solar panels.
According to VAFO, using renewable diesel to transport its products is an “important step in the advancement of an environmentally friendly pet industry.”
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