Newey group targets efficiency savings as it unites businesses

Vertically integrated grower the Newey group is restructuring.

Newey Group managing director Alex Newey said a "planned group convergence" to "crystallise objectives" is underway at the grower, which includes Roundstone, Avoncross, New Place, Eagle Plants, New Forest Nurseries and other businesses.

Newey said he is restructuring the pillars of the business into one and cutting some costs, before starting on the acquisition trail again.

Newey said part of his group’s success is that it has a small management team with only two directors, Newey himself and Martyn Thomas, rather than having equity partners.

2017 had been a "good year", he said, although "like everyone else we were flying until the end of April. Then it slowed down, which just reinforces the message – you can only sell it once."

Sales were "not dissimilar to last year" at about 5% up. Turnover from earlier this year was listed at £38m.

Newey Group general manager Kersten Catella, who has been with the company since 2010, has left. Catella, who is BPOA vice chair, has moved to "other opportunities". Newey said: "It was the right time for her and the right time for us."

Newey has sold 2.5m young poinsettia plants for this season and is growing 220,000 finished plants.

"You can’t ignore the fact that sterling is weak at the moment. UK-grown product in theory should be more value for money than last year," he said.

Newey added that the cost of doing business was gradually rising because of "significant" exchange rates changes and prices were going to have to rise 5-10%. Other challenges include rising labour costs caused by the National Living Wage and the lessening of the attractiveness of the UK as a workplace for Eastern European workers.

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