Nurture-Mulberry amalgam sets sights on £10m turnover

Nurture Landscapes has bought Mulberry Grounds Maintenance in an acquisition march that shows no sign of slowing.

The takeover will see both firms trade as Nurture, managing director Peter Fane explained. He used to work with Mulberry director Anthony Ussher, who has taken the same position at Nurture.

"Nurture is expanding," added Fane. When I sold Waterers in 2003, Anthony set up on his own and now seemed a good time to come together."

Nurture, based in Surrey, has 65 staff and over a £3m turnover. Mulberry, near Oxford, makes just under £700,000 from 15 staff including co-director Lynn Rees. There will be no job losses.

Fane said: "Anthony has done well, but when you build your own business it can be a little lonely. In a bigger organisation there are people you lean on and we have a similar mindset."

He added that he was lining up an acquisition in the Midlands in the autumn and wanted to take Nurture Landscapes' turnover up to around £10m in two years.

"We are focused on acquisitions in the south and Midlands and will look at relatively small firms of £3m to £4m turnover. But I don't aspire to be a major player in volume. Some of the players are so large and impersonal. We offer a personal, quality service and there are contracts to be grabbed."

Nurture has four sales directors, "a big cost but that's where growth comes from and it's worth the investment". Directors can buy into the firm, typically from £5,000 to £75,000.

Fane, who sold Waterers Landscape in 2003, stayed with the firm until late 2007 before going solo with the purchase of Andrew Chittenden & Co in April 2008.

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