Spatial Global’s parent company Keswick Enterprises, has acquired north-east England based co-packer, APS

The Keswick Enterprises Group Limited has acquired 100% of the equity of Northumberland-based Assembly and Packing Services Limited (APS).


After several years of international logistics and co-packing experience, Keswick Enterprises moved into UK contract packing and fulfilment in 2008 with the acquisition of food and confectionery co-packer SGL Co-packing Limited, based at Nelson in Lancashire.  Under Keswick’s secure stewardship this business has almost doubled in size, and further growth is anticipated after recent significant investment in facilities and equipment.

APS – which has been in Blyth since it was formed 35 years ago by managing director, Judith Leighton and her sister-in-law Margaret Watson – is one of the UK’s leading non-food contract packing companies.  It has extensive expertise in assembling, collating and packing merchandise and giftware for manufacturers, importers and retailers.

Ms Leighton said:

The acquisition is the result of six months’ work to identify and secure the best new owner.  Keswick Enterprises already have a strong track record in contract packing, and I am delighted to announce that they will be taking the business forward.  They also own a number of complementary businesses – which will add to APS’s capabilities.  Above all, however, they have the right ethos and share our values.

APS has been at the forefront of its sector for more than three decades, and historically has been the co-packer of choice for multinationals like Procter & Gamble, Diversey, L’Oreal, Nike and The Body Shop, along with local manufacturers and printers.

The business currently employs over 80 permanent staff, but is able to expand to 250 with temporary recruitment to meet seasonal demand.  It is based at a 65,000 sq ft factory/fulfilment centre and offices on a substantial site on the Blyth Riverside Industrial Estate, with space for further growth.  There is also a satellite facility in Derby.

With MHRA authorisation, APS offers a full package of design, procurement, manipulation, storage and distribution services, and also specialises in gift assembly, pick-and-pack, sub-assembly, labelling, collation, flow-wrapping, blister packing and filling.  It has extensive capabilities and delivers deadline-driven, quality packaging solutions to complex and often logistically challenging projects.

Keswick Enterprises’ main board Director Gavin Withers will join APS as Chairman, while fellow main board Director Barry Croft will also take a place on the divisional board.  The APS management team will remain in situ, and Ms Leighton has agreed to stay as a strategic advisor to the business.  

Gavin Withers commented:

“Everyone at Keswick Enterprises is very conscious of the goodwill, staff loyalty and heritage of APS.  Co-packing and fulfilment are at the centre of our strategic focus, and we bring longstanding international experience to the business.  APS will add substantially to our capabilities, and we hope in due course to offer enhanced opportunities for the good people of Blyth.”

Judith Leighton added:

As part of The Keswick Enterprises Group, APS will benefit from significant investment for future development and growth, as well as enhanced capabilities in sourcing, logistics and systems.  It’s a really exciting time for everyone involved.

The Keswick Enterprises Group Limited was established in 2004 by former Tibbett & Britten Group plc management – including chairman and CEO, John Harvey CBE.  It is a UK-based private equity investor, focused on supply chain and fulfilment-related operations.

Group subsidiaries provide asset recovery, consultancy, co-packing, fulfilment (including e-commerce fulfilment), freight forwarding, logistics (including intermodal, road transport and warehousing), mail and courier, procurement, global sourcing, recycling… and many other services.  It has grown organically and through acquisition.

In the UK, Keswick Enterprises Group companies operate from sites in Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and now Northumberland.  Most Group locations also offer co-packing and e-commerce and other fulfilment services.

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