9 July 2018
NorthEdge Capital has announced the close of NorthEdge Capital SME Fund I, LP (“SME Fund I”, “the Fund”) at its £120 million hard cap. The Fund was raised from existing investors and enables the firm to broaden its ability to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities in the U.K. regional lower mid-market.Find out more
Bridge Farm Nurseries (“Bridge Farm”) is the market leading producer of ornamental plants, flowers and herbs to supermarkets across the UK.
Founded in 1988, Bridge Farm operates from five locations around Spalding, Lincolnshire, including its flagship site at Horseshoe Road.
The company works with major UK supermarkets under the brand name Neame Lea, the 2017 UK Grower of the Year, and has a skilled and semi-skilled workforce of over 500 employees at peak times.
Bridge Farm’s core supermarket customer base, which includes Tesco and Aldi, is growing faster than the overall market as supermarkets increase garden ranges targeting shoppers buying for convenience or on impulse, and accordingly securing a greater share of the market.
The company has also announced the significant investment in glasshouse infrastructure and biomass heating in recent years, making the business the lowest cost producer in the industry.
The MBO was led by Bridge Farm CEO David Ball, who has led the transformation of the business over the last five years, and will allow the management team to continue its capital expenditure programme, tripling capacity and developing further its highly differentiated market proposition.
The deal was led by Rob Freer, Director and Head of Midlands at NorthEdge, with support from Andrew Skinner (Investment Manager), Phil Frame (Investment Director) and Dan Matkin (Investment Manager). Rob Freer will sit on the board in a non-executive capacity.
Clive Sharpe, former Chairman of Quorn Foods and former CEO of Golden Wonder and WT Foods has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman.
David said: “We are delighted to have concluded the MBO with funding from NorthEdge, who have been very supportive throughout the process. NorthEdge and management have a shared vision for the business over the coming years and with this renewed focus we will work tirelessly to ensure that Bridge Farm achieves its full potential.”
Rob added: “We are delighted that Bridge Farm is the first investment for our Midlands office. The company is recognised by its customers as a best-in-class provider of ornamental plants, flowers and herbs. David has had the vision to change the traditional operating model and built a business of scale, with a highly differentiated competitive position and strong customer relationships. NorthEdge’s investment will support an extensive capex programme over the next two years to allow the team to capitalise further on the market opportunities, securing additional customer relationships and delivering strong shareholder value. We look forward to working with David and his team to realise their ambitions.”