Camellia Plc, a UK-based global agriculture group has acquired an 80% stake in Bardsley England for £15.7m. Camellia said its acquisition of the business also included a loan to Bardsley of £9.3m to allow it to repay its existing borrowings. The deal would “strengthen Bardsley’s balance sheet”, it added, with the investment supporting growth and ensuring the business “is able to invest further in developing its packing operations and extending its orchards”. The deal was expected to be earnings enhancing by 2022, it added, while Bardsley’s packhouse operations offered synergies with Camellia’s avocado, macadamia and blueberry businesses and worked with many of the same customers.
Bardsley England employs 550 staff at the seasonal peak and grows almost 18,000 tonnes of fruit a year. The company operates across 23 sites over 850ha of land throughout Kent growing apples, pears, cherries, plums and grapes. River Farm HQ is where the packhouse and main storage facility forms a centralised operation and distribution hub processing over 35,000 tonnes of fruit every year.