The 50-year-old family-owned cash and carry Hancocks has been sold to its management and H2 Equity Partners (H2) in a move which is hoped to “take the company to the next level”.

Established in 1962 by Ray Hancock, the confectionery specialist wholesaler operates 18 cash and carry depots and has a turnover in excess of £100m. The current owners, Ray’s sons Andrew and Adrian Hancock, will be stepping down from the company.

Former owner and chairman Andrew Hancock said the buy-out was “great news” for customers, employees and suppliers.

“From a sweet shop in Shepshed, our family has grown the business to a group that serves many thousands of businesses with their confectionery supplies,” he said. “We now hand the baton on with pride, knowing that Hancocks can only go from strength to strength.”

While current supplier arrangements will remain in place, plans to expand the national depot network, develop both the branded and own label ranges and grow online activities will be drawn up over the coming months.

Mark Watson, who will remain as chief operating officer, said he was “confident of a bright future” for the confectionery company. “We have some exciting plans and opportunities to take the business forward with H2 at the helm,” he added.