Horticultural solutions and products specialist, Fargro Limited, is preparing for growth in 2021 following the completion of a successful sponsor-backed management buy-out.
The West Sussex-based firm is the UK's largest, and a leading authority, in developing and selling biopesticide solutions and integrated pest/disease management and other specialist products to horticultural growers and amateur gardeners.
Whilst initially negatively impacted by the closure of garden centres due to Covid-19, Fargro has since enjoyed a stellar operating year, capitalising on the increased consumer demand for gardening supplies.
Now the business is preparing for a period of growth following the completion of a successful MBO, backed by sponsor Ashridge Capital.
Richard Hopkins, Managing Director at Fargro Limited, said:
“Fargro is a fabulous, well-respected brand, built over 75 years, right from our roots as a co-operative through to demutualisation in 2007. This investment, our vision, and our passionate management team ensures that we are strongly positioned for a long and healthy future.
“Thanks to the support from both Ashridge Capital and Shawbrook Bank, we can now focus fully on preparing for growth and writing the next chapter of the Fargro story under our own management team. This is an exciting time and we’re very well placed to meet the increasing demand for our products as the UK continues to work through the impact of the pandemic and growers maximise the post-Brexit demand for home-grown food and flowering plants.”
Specialist bank Shawbrook supported Ashridge Capital and Fargro through an undisclosed ABL facility.
Richard added: “The reason we chose to work with Shawbrook in the first place was their experience of MBO situations, including those like our own that featured an external investor, and the team delivered exactly what they proposed. This is a major event for Fargro, the management team and everyone involved in the business, so certainty and communication make a big difference.
“Shawbrook’s team were proactive throughout, and the flexible funding structure, including consideration of seasonality and truly understanding our business performance despite Covid meant that they emerged as the only lending partner for us.”
Fargro has been trading since 1946 and has held a Royal Warrant – a mark of quality – since 1971. The business also has an e-commerce B2C division – The Garden Superstore – which supplies the home and garden market.
David Sherratt, Founder and CEO of Ashridge Capital, the sponsor behind Fargro’s management buy-out, said:
“Fargro is a great business led by a very impressive management team, and we’re delighted to support the MBO and its growth plans – aided by having Shawbrook onboard as a committed and very capable funding partner.”
Steven Munt, Relationship Director at Shawbrook Bank, said:
“This was an outstanding opportunity to support a great business with a tailored ABL facility that recognises the seasonality of Fargro’s trading pattern and mix of assets. We look forward to seeing the business continue its journey and fulfilling its vision to be the trusted, go-to provider of solutions and products for the UK horticultural industry.”
Adrian Alexander, Corporate Finance partner at FRP, said:
“The Horticulture sector has come to prominence firstly due to climate change and consumer concerns over ‘food miles’.
“Secondly it has been one of the key beneficiaries of a difficult year for the economy, with businesses like Fargro playing an important role in facilitating the uptick in demand as people have spent more time at home. Opportunities for growth will no doubt continue as homeowners demand more UK grown products and further indulge their new-found love for gardening, and we look forward to seeing Fargro going from strength to strength as a result.”
Shawbrook Bank was advised by Shoosmiths. Fargro was advised by Irwin Mitchell (Legal) and FRP Advisory (Corporate Finance and Debt Advisory). Ashridge Capital was advised by Porter Dodson (Legal) and Jenson Solutions (Financial Due Diligence).