Landgard UK expands with purchase of Brinkmans Nurseries' Sussex site

Brinkmans Nurseries' site in Bosham, Sussex, has been taken over by Landgard UK, a subsidiary of a German grower cooperative.

Landgard UK managing director Richard Egerton, a former B&Q buyer, will run the young-plant supplier. He said: "Over half of Landgard group's sales are plants and this is why we have taken this opportunity in the UK.

"We plan to expand our customer base here. This will be done by offering a broader product portfolio, through new trading relationships with UK growers and existing European partners."

Landgard markets the products of 3,000 growers of fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants and cut flowers. It has a turnover of EUR1.5bn (£1.35bn).

Egerton said: "The plan is to increase that within the next two to three years to EUR2bn (£1.8bn). This will be done through developing in other European countries and developing new product areas."

He added: "We have taken on Brinkmans in tough times. We don't know what will happen in the retail environment. But funding is available so we can continue to develop. We will spend this year getting to understand what customers want. I am also very keen to develop relationships with British growers and market their products for them."

He concluded: "We have two strategies. One is to sell the Landgard products from Germany and Holland. The other is to source locally wherever possible, so I will be spending much of my time over the next year meeting with smaller growers and exploring opportunities with them."

All 31 existing permanent staff will be kept employed and Egerton said that "little will change in the short term".

The production of heritage trees will continue and other lines are grown to the requirements of retail customers, which include B&Q, Tesco and Dobbies.

With the acquisition of the nursery the turnover of Landgard UK is estimated to be around £12m per year. The Bosham site is still owned by David Langmead, who is leasing it to Landgard UK. Langmead plans to concentrate on his edibles and food-processing business with supermarkets.

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