Pearson: we will push all brands

'I want to suppress rumours that Solus is only interested in its own brands,' says chief executive.

Pearson: Solus chief executive
Pearson: Solus chief executive

Solus and Scotts are keen to "take away the ambiguity and uncertainty" around Scotts' acquisition of the wholesaler, chief executive Mark Pearson has said.

Industry figures have questioned being run by Scotts, a brand Solus distributes alongside several of Scotts' rivals including Vitax and Bayer. Solus has distributed Scotts' products for more than 25 years.

Scotts general manager Martin Breddy was restricted in what he could say because Scotts is quoted on the US stock market and the companies are going through due diligence before the deal is struck "before Easter".

But Solus chief executive Pearson said that as an HTA board member and former Gardman managing director he knows there is "an inextricable link between third-party/partner brands and own ranges".

"Third-party brands have choices but we want to make it an easy decision to stay on board. For retailers it's business as usual." Pearson said retailers tell him the "necessary combination" needs to carry on and he will "push both sides of the business".

He added: "I want to suppress rumours that Solus is only interested in its own brands. We don't see our model changing. Garden centres want that choice of product range. It gives us a point of difference. Doing it with Scotts makes us stronger and takes away doubt about long-term security.

"When I came into Solus last November there were a number of things we could do with the business. This is a good outcome out of those choices. Scotts is a safe pair of hands. It's important to the Yealland family."

Solus founder Simon Yealland could retain Solus's buildings, with Scotts buying Solus stock, accounts and own brands, including Chapelwood bird care and Yeoman tools. Solus is still supplying The Garden Centre Group although it lost some ranges last year, but the group is tendering for a new logistics provider.

Other competition in the supply market comes from Gardman, Westland/Crest, Stax and Decco.

Questions raised

Will Armitage, chairman, Garden Centre Association

"It's good to see someone step in to help Solus out. But there are uncertainties about how Scotts will be distributed through other wholesalers going forward and how Scotts will work selling competitor products."


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