Tchibo swoops on Matthew Algie as it targets coffee shop growth

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UK independent coffee roaster Matthew Algie has been acquired by the family-owned German coffee and food service business Tchibo.

Tchibo will see the Matthew Algie brand retained in the UK with the company continuing to be run by its existing management team while Tchibo will use the acquisition to expand its operations in the UK and Ireland. Both parties have hailed the deal as complementary to their respective brands and customers across the UK and Ireland.

For Tchibo, the deal illustrates the multinational’s desire to further grow its coffee service business in the UK. The senior management team of Tchibo cited a number of key attractions to Glasgow-based Matthew Algie; its dedication to ethical trading and ‘Triple Accreditation’, its leading-edge training operations and technical customer support; and the opportunity to grow Matthew Algie’s Espresso Warehouse brand, potentially across Europe.

Matthew Algie will continue to operate as a standalone entity but with the platform for further expansion and innovation, building on its impressive growth in recent years. The company employs 220 people and is now one of the UK’s leading suppliers to the UK and Ireland food service markets, recognised for its technical expertise, approach to sustainable coffee sourcing, and excellent customer service. In 2014 it celebrated its 150th anniversary.

The global coffee service business of Tchibo was founded in 1972 with the clear long term strategy to build an international coffee service business. This year Tchibo Coffee Service UK celebrates its 25th anniversary. It came to the UK in 1991 as part of an international growth programme. The operation currently includes a coffee food service offer to sectors such as forecourts, hotels and offices. Tchibo employs more than 150 people in the UK.

Matthew Algie has been family-owned throughout its history. Following the death of 6th generation owner David Williamson in 2008, the company has been owned by Mr Williamson’s estate which is held by a family trust.

Established in 1864 as a tea blender and wholesaler, Matthew Algie has driven innovation and ethical trading in the UK coffee market, including the introduction of the UK’s first Fairtrade espresso bean. In 2004 the firm launched the UK’s first Triple Certified espresso: Fairtrade, organic, and Rainforest Alliance.

Beyond coffee roasting, the acquisition will allow Matthew Algie to grow its Espresso Warehouse brand which sells associated products and equipment to cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Commenting on the acquisition, Nick Snow, managing director for Tchibo Coffee Service, said: “Matthew Algie stands out in the UK coffee trade for its unrivalled “farm-to-cup” approach to ethical sourcing, its technical excellence with dedication to staff and customer training, and the opportunity to grow the Espresso Warehouse concept internationally.

“We are very keen to maintain Matthew Algie’s independence while providing it with the opportunity to drive innovation in the UK coffee service market. We will learn a lot from each other while both continuing to grow.”

Matthew Algie’s senior management team, including CEO Gary Nicol, sales and marketing director Brian O’Hagan, operations director Peter McGadey and technical director Ewan Reid, will continue to lead the expanding operation.

Chairman Eric Hagman CBE said: “We believe this deal gives the company a major platform for further growth and to expand Matthew Algie’s operations across the UK with an eye on European markets also.  Tchibo is the right partner to help us build on the achievements of the last few years and we are very excited about the future potential of the business.”

Gary Nicol, Matthew Algie chief executive, said the future was positive for the company: “We have always worked hard to deliver consistently high quality products and that won’t change going forward.  The investment of Tchibo also speaks volumes for the results achieved by our skilled and committed workforce.

“Our focus remains on our dedication to sustainable sourcing and great tasting coffee for our customers, but now with the complementary experience, products and services and routes to market offered by new partners Tchibo.”

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