Bridge Farm Group is one of the UK’s leading growers of ornamental plants, flowers and herbs. Founded in 1988, the company operates from five locations around Spalding, Lincolnshire, including its flagship 75-acre site.
The company sells more than 80 million plants and flowers per year to retailers and consumers across the globe, including major UK supermarkets. Bridge Farm Group has a workforce of over 500 employees.
NorthEdge supported the MBO of Bridge Farm in August 2017. The investment, from Fund II, enabled the company to deliver a capital expenditure programme and develop its highly differentiated market proposition.
This included the construction of a new £18m production facility, which was part funded by a further £5m investment from NorthEdge, in May 2018. Located in Clay Lake, Spalding, the facility is a significant upgrade on the group’s previous 10-acre production facility at Horseshoe Road, featuring biomass heating alongside a range of automated handling systems to improve efficiency.
Since NorthEdge’s investment, Bridge Farm has increased sales from £12m to £15.4m, achieving gross profit of £3.8m.
NorthEdge announced its exit in July 2019, in a trade sale to Canadian firm, Sundial Growers Inc.
The transaction is NorthEdge’s first exit from Fund II and represents a 2.3x return of cost at an IRR of 66%. This follows a hold period of just under two years for NorthEdge Capital Fund II.
David Ball, CEO at Bridge Farm, said: “As a family business, we are very proud of the way we have grown Bridge Farm to its current position as one of the most successful UK horticultural businesses, with a philosophy of growing high quality plants in a sustainable way.
“The transaction will allow us to strengthen key customer relationships, securing our future as one of the UK’s fastest growing local businesses.”
Andy Ball, Partner at NorthEdge, said: “We are proud to have worked with David and his team at Bridge Farm to realise their vision. Together, we have changed the traditional operating model and built a business of scale with a competitive position and strong customer relationships.
“NorthEdge’s investment has supported an extensive capex programme over the last two years, culminating in a new, world-class site, which has allowed the team to capitalise further on the market opportunities, secure additional customer relationships and deliver strong shareholder value. We are confident Bridge Farm will continue its growth trajectory in partnership with Sundial.”
We are proud to have worked with David and his team at Bridge Farm to realise their vision. Together, we have changed the traditional operating model and built a business of scale with a competitive position and strong customer relationships.