Westland buys Unwins Seeds

Multi-million pound deal secures sale

Westland Horticulture has bought Unwins Seeds in a multi-million-pound deal (HW, 5 August). The companies’ managing directors Edward Conroy and Mark Taylor signed the deal on Monday. Irish horticultural product supplier Westland is looking for a replacement for Taylor. Cambridgeshire-based seed company Unwins’ mail-order business SE Marshall is included in the agreement. Conroy vowed to turn round loss-making Unwins, develop the brand through growing its sales team, re-introduce seed trials and “invest heavily into Unwins breeding programme”, but he said he planned no changes for three months. He added: “We believe that the strong combination of the companies will make a significant impression in the gardening market.” Journalist and lecturer Howard Drury said: “I’m sad that some staff have already moved on. Some of those good lads can’t be replaced. They’ve lost a bit of trust and it’s going to take a little while to strengthen again.” Garden writer Peter Seabrook said: “I’m delighted that the sorry saga has ended. I wish Westland success. I think it’s good news.”

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