Co Tyrone garden product supplier Westland expands footprint with latest acquisition

Pictured are: Dominic O’Neill, corporate acquisition manager, Danske Bank; Scott Dougherty, finance director at Westland Horticulture and Rory Clarke, head of acquisition at Danske Bank.
Gareth McKeown

A LEADING Co Tyrone garden product supplier has acquired a rival English firm in a major deal.

Dungannon-based Westland Horticulture has rescued garden centre supplier, Gardman Group from extinction, after buying the firm out of administration for an undisclosed sum.

The Peterborough-based company's business is split between bird care products and garden hardware, both market segments in which Westland operates.

Through the acquisition Westland has bought all trading assets, stock and Gardman brands, which include Cole and Bright, Grow It, Moulton Mill and Gardman Wild bird care.

The latest acquisition, supported by Danske Bank, sees staff numbers at the Westland group swell to over 800.

Scott Dougherty, finance director at Westland Horticulture said the transaction will strengthen the company's

position in the British, Irish and European markets.

“Gardman Group's business is a natural fit and the acquisition is in line with the company's strategic direction. With the business having a similar customer base in the independent garden centre trade it is a logical move," he said.

“The Home Garden sector is a mature market but it is also a resilient market with a loyal base of customers who love their gardens.”

Rory Clarke, head of acquisition at Danske Bank added:

“Westland Horticulture is an ambitious business that has a strong track record of growing both organically and through acquisition. Danske Bank has supported the company in its previous acquisitions of William Sinclair and Cranswick Pet Products and we were delighted to do so again through this transaction.

“Westland has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with its products available for purchase in independent garden centres, large retailers on the high street and online and also in most supermarkets across the UK.”

Established in 1990, Westland is now one of the fastest growing consumer garden product companies in Europe, supplying a range of gardening products including lawn care, plant food, pest control, weed killers and mulches. Westland also owns the market leading brand of seed, Unwins, and wild bird feed ranges Peckish, Nature's Feast and Bucktons.

He added: “We had to move quickly on the Gardman transaction and Danske Bank has been very supportive through the process. The bank knows our business well and backed the management team fully in our decision to make this acquisition.”

Following the aquisition, the Westland group will have more than 800 employees. As well as bases in Northern Ireland and England, the company also has a growing European footprint, including operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and France.

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