Running parallel to the expansion of the manufacturing side, Golden Casket acquired an exclusive agency for a Dutch company which, over the years and to this day, has been an ongoing success story. Gilda BV, Rotterdam, with little business in the UK market, placed their trust in Golden Casket who, within a few years, increased the Gilda UK turnover from £50K per annum to over £1M.
In 1987, Fuller’s was sold to John J. Lees Plc. Golden Casket and Buchanan’s of Scotland however, remained under the ownership of Douglas Rae. In 1989, the business of Drysdale & Gibb was taken over as it fitted comfortably into the niche market occupied with pride by Buchanan’s. All plant, plus a few members of staff, were transferred from Wishaw to Greenock.
Turnover continued to increase and, in 1995, a further acquisition was made when Golden Casket took over the ailing English company, Caramel House Ltd of Merseyside. As with the Drysdale & Gibb takeover, the business of Caramel House was transferred to Greenock and merged with the existing business.
In 1990, a new product range named ‘Millions’, the brainchild of Douglas Rae, was launched. Millions, the tiny, tasty chewy sweets, available in several different fruit flavours, became an instant success. Through innovative marketing and presentation, the Millions brand has grown to now being worth over £11M in today’s marketplace. TV campaigns in support of Millions have also helped to boost demand for this product range which is a great favourite with children and adults alike. Similarly a website was created by Marketing Director, Sandra Fisher, who has been responsible for much of the growth of the popular Millions brand.
Simultaneous with the introduction of Millions was another product range that has also prospered and which is now worth over £11M in the marketplace, namely ‘£One Pounders’ – a range which now encompasses more than 60 varieties of sweets, all with the same retail price and, similarly, the same trade price for each variety. £One Pounders has become the private retailer’s ‘own label’ brand and is only available through the private sector.
£One Pounders, like Millions, has benefited through substantial TV support which has helped grow the brand to an extent that it is now a firm favourite with consumers throughout the entire UK. £One Pounders represents the best value for money of any confectionery range currently on sale in the UK. Over 4,000 £One Pounders stands, displaying the ‘big yellow bags’ are sited in retail shops throughout the country helping growth of the Greenock based brand.
In 1998, the Company acquired the business of Hills of Hawick whose main product, Hawick Balls, enjoyed a high profile through the constant PR generated by Bill McLaren, the well known rugby commentator. Hill’s, like Caramel House, was acquired ‘lock, stock and barrel’ with the plant and the production being transferred to our Greenock factory.
Over the years, in fact every year, the turnover of Golden Casket has increased and it is now one of the most successful confectionery companies and the largest in Scotland.
The Company which was formed in 1959 is still being led by the founder, Douglas Rae. Its success, however, is not due to just one man.
The Company’s strength is to be found in the dedication and knowledge of its committed staff, the majority of whom have served the Company for many, many years.
A further and interesting acquisition took place in the summer of 2006 when Scotland’s oldest manufacturing company, J. & A. Ferguson’s Limited of Glasgow, was purchased. The Ferguson’s business was started in 1794 and produces possibly the finest chocolates that are manufactured today in the UK. This is the expressed view of many Ferguson’s customers who shared these comments with us when the Ferguson’s business was acquired. The company is now registered as J. & A. Ferguson’s (1794) Ltd.
To own the oldest manufacturing company in Scotland gives an added pride to all employees of Golden Casket.
Manufacturing was moved to Greenock when the business was acquired and is accommodated within a 16,000 sq.ft. factory extension.
Many overtures and offers of takeover have been made to the Company in recent years but all have been rebuffed as Golden Casket want, like Walkers, Tunnock’s and Baxters, to remain independent and within private ownership.
Golden Casket’s policy of acquisition will continue subject to the products of the company of interest being complementary to those currently produced by us. Our Company are renowned for the consistent high quality of our productions so any acquisition considered will have to match or be capable of matching the high quality standards to which our customers are accustomed.