Management team completes buyout at horticultural supplier Fargro

The management team at horticultural solutions and products specialist Fargro Limited has completed a management buyout (MBO) of the business, with the support of Ashridge Capital and specialist business advisory firm FRP.

The West Sussex-based firm is the UK's largest provider of pest management and other products to horticultural growers and amateur gardeners, and has enjoyed a stellar operating year, capitalising on the increased consumer demand for gardening supplies.

The business is now preparing for a period of growth after the MBO was backed by sponsor Ashridge Capital, which was in turn supported by specialist bank Shawbrook through an asset-based lending (ABL) facility. FRP’s corporate finance team led the transaction, raising equity finance, with the support of its debt advisory team which introduced the debt funders and advised on all ABL matters.

Richard Hopkins, managing director at Fargro, says: “This is an exciting time and we’re very well placed to meet the increasing demand for our products as the UK continues to work through the impact of the pandemic and growers maximise the post-Brexit demand for home-grown food and flowering plants. Thanks to the support from both Ashridge Capital and Shawbrook Bank, we can now focus fully on preparing for growth and writing the next chapter of the Fargro story under our own management team.”

Fargro has been trading since 1946 and has held a Royal Warrant since 1971. It also has an e-commerce brand – The Garden Superstore – which supplies the home and garden market.

Adrian Alexander, corporate finance partner at FRP, says: “We were delighted to have introduced Shawbrook and Ashridge Capital to the management team. The horticulture sector has come to prominence firstly due to climate change and consumers concerns over ‘food miles’. Secondly, it has been one of the key beneficiaries of a difficult 12 months for the economy, with businesses like Fargro playing an important role in facilitating the uptick in demand as people have spent more time at home. Opportunities for growth will no doubt continue as homeowners demand more UK grown products and further indulge their new-found love for gardening, and we look forward to seeing Fargro going from strength to strength as a result.”

Nick Grainger, debt advisory partner at FRP, adds: “It is great to see another private equity-backed MBO completed, where, in a tightly managed and competitive debt advisory process, Shawbrook was able to clearly differentiate its market offering in the delivery a comprehensive ABL debt structure. The deal is another example of our teams working together, with partners from our corporate finance and debt advisory divisions collaborating to create the best possible outcome for all parties.”

Fargro was advised by Irwin Mitchell (Legal). Shawbrook Bank was advised by Shoosmiths. Ashridge Capital was advised by Porter Dodson (Legal) and Jenson Solutions (Financial Due Diligence).