William Sinclair Ellesmere Port development accelerated after company raises £8.2 million

Peter Rush, chief executive officer, William Sinclair Holdings - image: HW
Peter Rush, chief executive officer, William Sinclair Holdings - image: HW

Growing media supplier William Sinclair has raised £8.24 million in finance allowing it to accelerate the development of its £15 million Ellesmere Port site.

The financing was raised through secured redeemable convertible loan notes issued to institutional and other investors, the majority existing shareholders.

It will be used to fund the working capital and push the Ellesmere completion forward to 2015.

The noteholders will be entitled to receive 5,665,000 warrants allowing them to subscribe for new ordinary shares of 25 pence in the capital of the company at a price of 80p per share.  At maturity the notes can be converted into shares at £1.59 each.

Chief executive officer Peter Rush, who joined the company this year, said: "2014 will be the year William Sinclair begins to unlock its potential through the development of the Ellesmere Port site.

"It is very encouraging to see many of our shareholders demonstrate their support for the company's prospects and vision by becoming investors in these loan notes."

The move follows a profit warning issued by the company in July after a £5.8m shortfall in sales this spring and it is looking at ways of achieving greater efficiency, profitability and growth.

Rush said Ellesmere Port would allow it to "re-position and re-launch" its brands. Site consolidation was a key feature in his previous role.

William Sinclair started Silvaperl operations at the new site in September after buying the former BP/Castrol plant in Cheshire for £4.75m in July 2012. It has the potential to be 25ha in size, including 38,000sq m of existing buildings. The site is currently 17ha.

A company spokesman said Ellesmere Port site would represent a step change for the horticultural industry and would have the highest standards in technology and product quality. It would be a centre for research and development as well as growing media production, he said.

The convertible notes will have a maturity of five years and carry an interest rate of between eight and 11 per cent per year.

Company directors Rush, Peter Williams, Hugh Etheridge and Ken Piggott, have subscribed for an aggregate amount of £60,000 of the notes. In total Rush and Williams and their immediate family hold an interest in 13,750 of the warrants and conversion rights in respect of 12,579 shares, and Etheridge and Piggott, 6,875 of the warrants and conversion rights in respect of 6,289 shares.


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