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APS Group Acquisition of Wight Salads Ltd

May 2015 £100m turnover group

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growth strategy

Project Squirrel

May 2015 £100m turnover group

About the client

APS Group is a family owned business, founded in 1949. They operate across 4 sites in Cheshire (x2). Kent, and following the completion of the transaction, also on the Isle of Wight.

APS Group grow their produce in modern glasshouses featuring industry leading computerised environmental and nutritional control. In addition, growing sites benefit from onsite Combined Heat and Power plants, a unique Anaerobic Digestion waste management facility and ground water cooled packing facilities.

Rickitt Mitchell led the acquisition by APS Group of competitor Wight Salads Limited, from €1 billion turnover RAR Group (HQ Portugal).

About the deal

The successful completion of the transaction created a £100m turnover group employing 700 people and producing from 108 acres of high tech glasshouses, to become the largest grower and supplier of tomatoes in UK.

The transaction Improved customer spread by adding Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S to current customer base of Tesco, Iceland and Lidl.

Rickitt Mitchell structured the deal to maintain 100% Pearson family ownership of the enlarged group by using an innovative financing structure that avoided the need for equity finance, even though the transaction doubled the size of the business.
The financing structure included: mezzanine finance, simultaneous sale & leaseback arrangement, immediate sale of a subsidiary, invoice financing plus an element of deferred consideration.

‘Neil and Alex closely advised me for over 12 months to pull together what was a transformational transaction for my family’s business. I cannot commend them more highly for the insightfulness and quality of their advice that helped steer APS through the complexities of this deal.’

Mark Pearson | CEO | APS Salads Group