Westland Horticulture acquires GB business

Danske Bank's Aaron Ennis (right) is pictured with Westland Horticulture Finance Director Scott Dougherty at the company's headquarters in Dungannon.
Danske Bank's Aaron Ennis (right) is pictured with Westland Horticulture Finance Director Scott Dougherty at the company's headquarters in Dungannon.
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Dungannon-based gardening products manufacturer Westland Horticulture has acquired the assets of English company William Sinclair in a multi-million pound deal backed by Danske Bank.

William Sinclair, which is based in Lincoln in England, owns a number of successful garden fertilizer and chemical brands including J. Arthur Bower’s, New Horizon, Growing Success and Deadfast.

As part of the transaction Westland Horticulture will acquire the assets and brands previously owned by William Sinclair and the company will be delisted from the AIM market on the London Stock Exchange. The investment includes acquisition of trading premises and a state of the art manufacturing facility in Ellesmere Port, England.

With turnover in excess of £106m in its most recent financial year, Westland is one of the leading horticultural companies in the UK. Its growth has been achieved through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. The company last month announced plans to create 70 new jobs as part of a £9.6m investment in a new fertilizer plant in Co Tyrone, also supported by Danske Bank.

Westland Horticulture’s Joint Managing Director Edward Conroy said the acquisition of the assets of William Sinclair Holdings would further expand its footprint in the UK market and complement its existing business.

He said: “This acquisition will bring much needed stability to William Sinclair’s business and brands starting from today. We have always believed that Sinclair’s is an important part of our industry’s landscape, and we are fully committed to maintaining this for the long term.

“Sinclair’s is fundamentally a good business with strong consumer brands which can now only thrive from being part of the Westland family.”

Scott Dougherty, Finance Director for Westland, added: “In a process where the time frame to completion was a critical differentiator for Westland, Danske’s support in terms of the speed of credit approval, the structure of facilities, the overall level of support available together with the management of the process to completion was essential to the success of the acquisition.”

Westland Horticulture’s latest acquisition was supported by a multi-million pound loan facility from Danske Bank. The bank previously backed Westland’s £18m acquisition of Cranswick Pet Foods in 2012.

Aaron Ennis, Senior Corporate Acquisition Manager at Danske Bank, said Westland Horticulture is an excellent example of a locally-owned company that has regularly demonstrated its ambitions to find new markets and grow beyond Northern Ireland.

“Westland is a prime example of the trading businesses we at Danske are keen to support in their growth journey. The company has a strong track record of making successful acquisitions and Danske Bank was ready to provide support when the company was presented with this opportunity to further strengthen its growing business in Great Britain.

“The experience and ambition of the management team has been key to the continued expansion of the Group in what is a highly competitive sector,” he said.

“This is one of the most significant acquisitions so far this year by a Northern Ireland company, but with confidence now returning to the economy I would expect the number of M&A transactions to accelerate between now and the end of 2015.”