The Billington Group
The Billington Group is rooted in family heritage with over 150 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. The name “Criddle” was used to keep the name “Billington” clear should the venture fail!
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 Biofuels 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. This is the Billington Groups largest acquisition to date.