Hydropac Ltd, a leading manufacturer of icepacks and temperature-controlled shipping systems, has been acquired by Bunzl Plc in a deal led by our Birmingham Corporate Finance team.

Hydropac designs and manufactures insulated packaging solutions that focus on maintaining chilled and frozen temperatures of food, pet-food, and pharmaceutical products during transit. It works with customers to design packaging that maintains the thermal and visual integrity of products through mainstream delivery networks, all the way to the consumer’s doorstep.

The temperature-controlled solutions’ manufacturer, located in High Wycombe, currently designs and produces insulated shipping systems, ice packs, and gel packs for the growing online food delivery market, with a remarkable 99% of their products being recyclable. In 2020, they produced a UK-market-leading 30 million ice packs, demonstrating their continued strength in the sector.

The shareholders appointed PKFSC’s Corporate Finance division to identify strategic trade purchasers, discretely market the company, assess bids, negotiate terms, and to manage and advise on the entire sale process.

Bunzl plc were selected as the preferred bidder. Hydropac is highly complementary to Bunzl-owned Coolpack BV in the Netherlands, which is a leading manufacturer and supplier of cooling elements, gel packs, cooling plates, thermal foam packs, and cooling packaging.

Hydropac Ltd shareholder, Mike Collins, said: “We are delighted to have found the right partner in Bunzl to enable the company to take advantage of exciting opportunities and deliver on our ambitious growth plans.”

Speaking about PKFSC, Mike adds:

“The Corporate Finance team were bright, quick thinking, and exceptionally talented. We were impressed with their strategic insights, creativity, and professionalism. The team took the trouble to listen, explaining any and all unclear circumstances, which then enabled myself and my fellow shareholders to make fully-informed decisions throughout the process.

PKFSC researched hard, working with diligence and tenacity to present us with several keen parties wanting to invest in our business. We were left to make the decisions about who we wanted to invest in our firm, which was important to us – having a deal that was right for our organisation was important and they delivered with vigour. PKFSC went above and beyond to run a slick process and delivered a fantastic outcome. Working with PKF Smith Cooper was, quite simply, a fabulously fun experience. I can’t imagine ever working with an alternative Corporate Finance team.”

Darren Hodson, Corporate Finance Partner, commented: “It has been a pleasure working with the shareholders on this transaction. Hydropac is a fantastic business in a fast-paced, growing industry. This deal demonstrates PKF Smith Cooper’s ability to find the right buyer and get deals done in a swift manner. We are thrilled for the shareholders – it is clear that Bunzl is the ideal partner for the next stage of business growth.”

The three-person team – consisting of Darren Hodson, Tom Joy, and Josh Gurton from PKFSC’s Birmingham Corporate Finance division – led the sales process. This included designing the process, thorough research of strategic trade purchasers, discrete marketing, negotiation, deal management, and advisory services. Tax advice was provided by Head of Transactional Tax, Adam Rollason, whilst seller legal advice related to the deal was provided by Richard Griffiths, of Higgs LLP.

Bunzl were advised by Stevens & Bolton and Deloitte. Adam McGiveron, of Pennington Manches Cooper, provided legal advice to Hydropac’s management.

Experts that advised on this deal

Darren Hodson

Corporate Finance Partner


Tom Joy

Senior Manager - Corporate Finance


Josh Gurton

Manager - Corporate Finance


Adam Rollason

Tax Advisory Partner