Monro depot acquired by BHGS

Administrator sells assets, stock and goodwill of Monro's Goodwood depot to a large distributer.

The long-running saga of stricken supplier Monro is over after one of its depots was bought from its administrator by a large horticultural distributor.

BHGS bought the assets, stock and goodwill of the Goodwood peat, compost and sundries depot, but the two other Monro depots have closed down. Brian Barber, general manager of BHGS, based in Evesham, Worcestershire, said the site would be known as BHGS Goodwood and employ nine staff led by Paul Roman.

"All three depots were profitable, but problems struck when the company built up a portfolio of horticultural businesses and some of those proved disastrous," he said.

"The company haemorrhaged money partly because it imported from China, which demands money up front."

Barber, who has worked for BHGS since 1977 and recently joined the company board, was surprised no buyer was found for the depots in Aylesford and Wisbech.

"We concentrate on the Midlands and South West and bought JFC Monro in Cornwall last year. Before its fall, and in its heyday, Monro made £6m turnover."

Barber said he hoped to build up the company to £3m turnover in two years.

Group turnover at BHGS, which is one of the UK's leading distributors to commercial growers, garden centres, large estates and allotment societies, recently increased by a third to £10.5m for the year 2010, although pre-tax profit slid slightly to £357,000.

Barber said: "It is all about employing the best staff. You also need to know how to make a profit, which has become a dirty word in horticulture: if you are not hard up, you are not in the circle."

BHGS was formed 10 years ago with the merger of Littleton & Badsey Growers and GMS Requisites, both in Worcestershire.

KEYSTAT - £10.5m

BHGS Group turnover rose by a third in 2010 to £10.5m, though pre-tax profit decreased to £375,000.

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