Fountains Group purchase saves jobs

Fountains Group bought for undisclosed seven-figure sum by OCS after falling into administration.

OCS Group UK has bought grounds and tree contractor Fountains Group, which slumped into administration last Monday, to save 1,570 jobs but shed 446.

Administrators would not reveal how much the seven-figure deal was worth exactly but said the company, which used to be part of Connaught before it collapsed in 2010, was toppled by the prolonged economic downturn.

OCS managing director Martin Gammon said, "This is a clear demonstration of our aim to develop our position as a leader in facilities management. By adding the Fountains brand and customer base to OCS, we will broaden our horticulture service offering."

Fountains chief executive Richard Haddon will for now take on a consultancy role. Gammon insisted that the deal was not an "asset stripping acquisition, which is not compatible with our heritage and culture".

Connaught bought Fountains in 2009 and merged it with Connaught Environmental, but a year later fell into administration owing £220m. But Fountains was profitable and an investment consortium took it over.

"Fountains management worked tirelessly and made a bold attempt to go it alone after Connaught, but it proved too difficult," said Gammon.

Both companies handle grounds upkeep, landscaping, arboriculture, waste management, forestry, land management and street cleaning. OCS's turnover from external works was around £20m in 2010-11, out of a group total of about £500m from other facilities-management services.

Administrator Tony Nygate, a business restructuring partner at BDO, said: "A sale was the best option to secure the future of the business. This enables the company to move forward confidently and on a secure financial footing."

KeyStat

1,570 - Number of staff saved from redundancy by purchase of Fountains Group by OCS Group UK.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

How are employers in horticulture developing their offer to staff?

How are employers in horticulture developing their offer to staff?

Thanks to a skills shortage in horticulture, employers are working hard to enhance their offer to new recruits -- from training to profit-share schemes. Rachel Anderson reports on developments at six firms in very different branches of the industry.

Business Planning - Be prepared for living wage rise

Business Planning - Be prepared for living wage rise

Battery blowers Reviewed: will battery blowers go the distance?

Battery blowers Reviewed: will battery blowers go the distance?

Fed up of having to start and restart blowers? Then there is the refuelling, mixing the two-stroke and carrying a spare can. Once running, emissions can be unpleasant and noise from a petrol engine demands earmuffs be worn. An alternative is battery power.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

HW Top UK Arboriculture Businesses

See our exclusive RANKING of arboriculture businesses by annual turnover. 

BUSINESS LEADs

Build your business with the latest public sector tenders covering landscape, arboriculture, grounds care, production and kit supplies. To receive the latest tenders weekly to your inbox sign up for our Tenders Tracker bulletin here.

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources