Global agriculture group, Camellia, is set to become a major fruit grower in the UK with the acquisition of Bardsley England.
The deal sees Camellia acquire an 80% stake in Bardsley England, the UK’s second largest apple supplier, for £15.7 million. Camellia will also make a loan to Bardsley of £9.3 million.
Bardsley England’s farming operation covers 850 hectares in Kent and includes 27 orchards growing apples, pears, cherries, plums and grapes as well as a large grading, packing and storage facility.
It grows nearly 18,000 tonnes of fruit a year and at peak season it employs 550 staff. Bardsley employs technology such as micro-climate sensors to monitor for adverse weather and wet leaf sensors to give early indication of pests and disease.
It also uses a combination of trailer-mounted machine vision devices and remote satellite technology to improve yield predictions and crop management.
The consideration, which is being satisfied from existing resources, is payable as to £12.7 million which was paid at completion with the balance of £3m deferred and payable by July 2022.
Of the total consideration, approximately £9.7 million is being used to subscribe for new shares in the business with the remainder being used to purchase existing shares.
In addition to strengthening Bardsley’s balance sheet, the investment by Camellia will support growth and ensure the business is able to invest further in developing its packing operations and extending its orchards.
“We have been looking for some time to increase our focus on agriculture where we have deep skills, and to increase our operations in the UK. Bardsley helps with both,” said Tom Franks, CEO at Camellia.
“It is located close to our HQ in Kent, which is the premier region for apple growing in the country. We look forward to partnering with the Bardsley family in the future.”