Portuguese group buys salad supplier

A grower of watercress and other salad ingredients in the UK and Portugal is set to be acquired by RAR Group, a Portuguese private company.

Hampshire-based Vitacress is to be sold for £52.5 million pending approval by the Portuguese Competition Commission.

CEO Nick Stenning will continue to lead the management team following the acquisition by RAR, which also owns UK tomato producer Wight Salads and has interests in industries as diverse as packaging, real estate, tourism and financial services.

Vitacress was advised by Cavendish Corporate Finance. Jonathan Buxton, a partner at Cavendish, comments: ‘We were delighted to help secure a strong deal for the Vitacress shareholders and find a buyer which is both sympathetic to the way Vitacress is run and able to accelerate the development of its operations in Spain and Portugal.’

With around 1,000 staff, Vitacress reported sales of £81 million and pre-tax profits of £6.4 million last year. The company farms land in England, Portugal and Spain and specialises in the baby leaf segment, with a particular focus on the bagged salads market.

RAR has a turnover of €800 million (£640 million) and employs 3,700 people across Europe.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.