Seeds firm Germinal to uproot from Banbridge to Tipperary

The Germinal Holdings site in Banbridge, which is set to close when the company relocates to Thurles
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BANBRIDGE-headquartered seeds and grain firm Germinal Holdings is uprooting its business and relocating to Co Tipperary.

But the family-owned business, founded in 1825, insists the decision has nothing to do with Brexit, and instead is part of a wider strategy to improve operational efficiency.

The move will see it transfer its head office function to Belfast, while its new operational base will be in Thurles, where Germinal has invested heavily in a production and distribution facility in recent years.

The company, which in its last trading year had sales of £27.6 million and grew profits to £5.2 million (helped by a £1.7m gain on the revaluation of an investment property), employs 81 staff.

It is understood there will be a small number of redundancies in its Banbridge administrative team when the changes are implemented.

In a statement, managing director William Gilbert said: "Following years of significant investment in our facilities in Co Tipperary, which has historically only served customers in the Republic, we feel the time is right to utilise this state-of-the-art site to serve customers across Northern Ireland as well.

"This will help us drive our sustainability agenda and remove unnecessary duplication.

"We are also accelerating our investment in digital and e-commerce technologies, which is a major growth opportunity for the business."

Mr Gilbert, a direct descendant of the original owners, added: "It also means relocating our head office function to Belfast, but we believe these developments will ensure we are well placed to move forward and drive our innovation and research knowledge."

Germinal, which supplies high-grade grass seeds, fertilisers and wild flowers for use in agriculture and sports arenas, counts itself as the largest family-owned amenity seed firm in Britain or Ireland.

The company expanded into England in the 1950s, and in the 1960s it merged with Banbridge-based Joseph Morton Ltd and later acquired James Coburn & Sons also in the town.

Over recent decades Germinal expanded operations throughout Britain, and in 2002 took a shareholding in New Zealand company Cates Grain and Seed.

It is understood Germinal's current head office and distribution site, set in a prominent location near the centre of Banbridge, will continue as a satellite operation for the rest of this year, after which it will be sold.

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