Portuguese investor buys Vitacress Salads in multi-million-pound deal

Hampshire-based Vitacress Salads has been bought by Portuguese investor Grupo RAR in a multi-million-pound deal that sees RAR own all Vitacress shares.

Contracts for the deal were signed on 30 June - with all transactions expected to be processed by the end of August.

Vitacress is one of the leading growers and marketers of salads in Europe, with a turnover last year of some £81m.

It has grown significantly since 1951, when Hampshire farmer Malcolm Isaac - now a millionaire - started the business with just 0.4ha of watercress beds. Vitacress now farms some 1,200ha of watercress, baby leaf spinach and rocket in England - on growing beds in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Kent - along with Portugal and Spain.

The deal sees the firm's management structure intact, with all of its employees retaining their jobs.

A representative for Vitacress said: "This signifies a new phase in the development of Vitacress, allowing for an increase in the scale of its operations, particularly in the Iberian market."

RAR is a Portuguese group based in Porto with an annual turnover of more than EUR800m (£636m).

It operates in a range of industries, including food, packaging, real estate and tourism. Last year, it bought a majority stake in Isle of Wight-based Wight Salads - one of the UK's largest tomato producers.


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