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The Billington Group


The Billington Group is rooted in family heritage with over 160 years of trading experience. Here's just a snapshot of our story so far...


This letter was sent by John Billington to his son Edward on the occasion of his taking up an apprenticeship in Liverpool.

The original letter remains in Cunard Building.


Edward Billington began trading as a tea and coffee importer, but within a few years was also importing sugar.


The company moves to Liverpool, operating over a period of time from a number of locations before settling its headquarters at its current location in the famous waterfront Cunard Building in 1959.


John Billington, Sugar 1877 – 1920, Chairman 1891 – 1930


The rapid growth of the business prompts a decision to make the firm a limited company.


The manufacture of cattle food started around 1902. A mill was established in the old bedstead manufacturing factory of Billington Brothers on Great Homer Street in 1903.


During the pre-war, wartime, inter-war and post war period, the company steadily expanded both by organic growth and acquisitions of new business.


Criddle purchased their first Sentinel tractor affectionately nicknamed locally as “the crab”. This steam tractor is now housed the Museum of Liverpool Life.


Edward Billington Sugar/Chairman 1930- 1970


Central Tin Packaging was set up in Liverpool and continued until being sold to its management in 2008.


The company set up headquarters at its current location on the famous Liverpool waterfront at Cunard Building


The Ellesmere Port mill, previously owned by Ranks, was used for the manufacture of animal feed until 1978


A meat division was set up and traded initially as Thomas, Swain and Whiteley. The division was closed in 2000.


Pat Whiteley, Agriculture/Meat Director 1963-1994, Vice Chairman 1963-1994


The company moved into the travel sector, with Wise Travel on Allerton Road, Liverpool. It remained involved in travel until 2005.


John Billington, Sugar Director 1960, Chairman 1970 - 2000


First import of Mauritian unrefined brown sugars by Edward Billington (Sugar) Limited.


Opening of a purpose built Billington Sugar packing factory in Ipswich.


Formation of the Billington Food Group to more accurately reflect the diverse activities of this division. The division was sold to British Sugar in 2004.


English Provender Company was bought by the Group. Founded by John and Ann Curwin making jams, condiments and chutneys.


Formation of Carrs Billington joint venture

Billington Agriculture and Carrs Agriculture formed a joint manufacturing company Carrs Billington Agriculture in response to the shrinking dairy feed market.


The company acquired Classic Couverture, a chocolate manufacturing company it owned until 2006.


Edward Billington and Son Ltd took a 55% stake in Wholesome Sweeteners alongside Imperial Sugar in the US who owned 45%. Over the next 10 years the company grew from $4m to $120m to become the leading supplier of organics and fair trade sugars, honey and agave in the US.


Opening of newly purpose built English Provender Company factory in Newbury.


The company had acquired Suffolk Foods in 2004, a manufacturer of mayonnaise and sauces to the food manufacturing and food service sectors, incorporated in 2005 into English Provender Company.


The company acquired Alembic Products Limited in Chester, a manufacturer of sauces and dressings to the food service and food manufacturing sectors, later incorporated into English Provender Company.


Billington Bioenergy began trading. As a supplier and distributor of high quality wood pellets.


The group completed the biggest deal in its history with the sale of 23.53% of Wholesome Sweeteners to Arlon Food and Agriculture Partners, retaining a 26.46% stake.


The company acquired Bar Foods, a manufacturer and supplier of soups, sauces and recipe dishes to the UK’s Foodservice and manufacturing industries. A very significant acquisition in the Group's history.


Billington Food Ingredients was established in 2013 to source and supply individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit and vegetables to the food manufacturing sector.


In January of 2014 the Group acquired TSC Foods. A North Lincolnshire based supplier of frozen and chilled soups and sauces to the Retail, Food Service and B2B market places. 


The Group agreed the sale of Billington Bioenergy to Drax Group plc, which is a world leader in sourcing and providing sustainable, renewable power from field and forest to customer.  


The Billington Group acquire Dunkleys.

Dunkleys was one of the UK's oldest, family-owned food manufacturers and had a heritage of supplying pies, recipe dish and desserts into the UK Foodservice market.

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Bar Foods and Dunkleys, businesses with similar customer bases and considerable operational synergies, merge to form Billington Foodservice, trading from sites in Newport (South Wales) and Wellingborough. 



The Billington Group (and its co-investors) announce completion of a sale of Wholesome to Whole Earth Brands Inc.

The sale concludes a highly successful twenty-year involvement of the Group with Wholesome.

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TSC Foods and Billington Foodservice merged to form Billington Foods, the combined business trades from sites in Scunthorpe and Wellingborough (the Newport site is transferred to English Provender Company).


The combination of the businesses allows for a unified and improved customer-focused approach to the delivery of high-quality bespoke products to market.



The Billington Group takes complete ownership of Carr's Billington Agriculture Ltd, bringing to an end the joint venture with Carr's Group plc after twenty-four years.

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