Acquisitions and restructures

Anyone who read with care Horticulture Week's preview of 2013, published at the start of the year, won't have been taken too much by surprise at the news last week that Glendale has bought ailing bedding grower Merediths.

Asked for his market predictions back in January for 2013, Glendale managing director Andy Corcoran told HW to expect further acquisition activity in the sector, and that included Glendale, which would "continue to look for suitable opportunities to grow in the green services sector".

Likewise, the news that the atrocious market conditions of 2012 and early 2013 have taken their toll on yet another well-known grower - Merediths went into administration on 19 July - will, sadly, also likely be met with little surprise, despite the upturn in the weather since May boosting plant sales.

Two leading players - Verde Horticulture and David Austin Roses - announced restructuring measures earlier this summer in the wake of the plant sales wipe-out - and, as we noted at the time, were widely expected to be followed by more nurseries revealing the impact on their businesses of two exceptionally tough seasons.

On this occasion, the good news is that the acquisition opportunity that has been created for Glendale - which has been on the hunt for another nursery since its 2005 purchase of Coblands - will secure more than a hundred jobs at Merediths. The purchase is a good fit with Glendale's one-stop-shop approach, which offers a diverse range of green services to customers. And as Glendale executive chairman Tony Hewitt notes, the move will ensure the retention for the skills crisis-hit ornamental production industry, of the technical skills of Merediths' nursery staff.

Kate Lowe, Editior - kate.lowe@haymarket.com


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