David Pethick set up Pethick & Co to supply delicatessen meats in bulk after spotting the growth in the number of supermarket delicatessen counters across the UK. He started up in 1989 with three friends, David Park, Alastair Benson and David Moor. Ten years later, the group sold out to pork producer Cranswick plc for £14.5m in cash and shares. The founders agreed to stay on after the takeover, with David Pethick taking an executive seat on the board. Profits at the Yorkshire-based company have risen by 73% pa, from £632,000 in 1996 to £3.3m in 1999, when sales reached £13.8m. Pethick attributes the company’s high margins to an expansion of factory capacity, which increased production volume while keeping fixed costs relatively stable.
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