Gardman stake sold to boost overseas expansion

Gardman owner Paris Natar has sold a major stake in the company he founded 15 years ago to fund growth and expand overseas.

Venture capital outfit Barclays Private Equity (BPE) acquired the majority stake in a deal valued at £85m. Gardman is the UK's leading supplier of wild-bird-care and garden products and has a turnover of more than £70m, up from £58m two years ago.

Natar said the investment in the business would allow the firm to continue its organic and acquisitional growth through international expansion and the purchase of new companies, as well as offering the flexibility to move into new product areas.

BPE director Phil Griesbach said that BPE had been aware of the company for several years and was impressed with how it had developed. "The company has demonstrated it has a robust business model based on design innovation and providing its customers with good-quality, affordable product."

Natar will continue in his role as chief executive.

Last September, a Sunday newspaper wrongly claimed that Gardman was to be sold for £85m to leading venture capital groups 3i and ABN Amro.

At the time, Gardman marketing director John Stratford told Horticulture Week: "We're not for sale. The timing of the story is very suspicious as it was on the day Glee started."

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