NorthEdge backs drinks manufacturer

NorthEdge Capital has invested in a Sunderland-headquartered soft drinks manufacturer.

Clearly Drinks Group is led by Finn O'Driscoll and Martin Thornton. It produces, bottles and distributes flavoured spring water sector with its brands including Perfectly Clear, 1870 Mixers and Northumbria Spring.

The company employs a workforce of more than 70 and has a turnover of £13.5m.

NorthEdge's investment will support the management team on its planned investment in its plant, sales resources and pipeline of new product development.

The deal was led by NorthEdge partner John Rastrick, investment director Tom Rowley and investment manager Nicola McQuaid. It is the fourth investment from the £315m NorthEdge Capital Fund II.

Rastrick and McQuaid will join Clearly Drinks' board as non-executive directors while Peter Cheung, chairman of ex-NorthEdge portfolio company Accrol Group, will join in the same role.

O'Driscoll said: "NorthEdge is an experienced investor, with a strong track record of delivering strategic and operational success across regional economies.

"We are excited about what we can achieve together and with a buoyant market and strong team in place, this company is poised to go from strength to strength."

Rastrick added: "We are delighted to support Finn, Martin and the team as they lead Perfectly Clear into new market opportunities.

"As more and more health-conscious shoppers look for alternatives to calorie-packed beverages following the pending introduction of the sugar tax, the demand for sugar-free, naturally flavoured products will continue to grow.

"Clearly Drinks is well placed to be at the forefront of that movement, and we are looking forward to working with the firm's experienced management team to convert the pipeline of exciting new product development opportunities in this evolving market."

NorthEdge was supported by Grant Thornton (Richard Goldsack/Chris Archer/Duncan Morpeth), Bond Dickinson (Simon Pilling/James Cook/Catherine Willis), CIL (Seb Chambers/Liam McGuinness), Henderson (Jon Harrison), PwC (Joel Smith/Tom Bennett) and Syngroup (Susanna Mitterer/ Bernhard Morawetz).

Clearly Drinks was advised by Livingstone Partners (Patrick Groarke/Karen Dawaf Harron), DWF (Frank Shephard/Darren Ormsby/Francesca Kinsella) and Saffery Champness.