Announcing the deal at the end of last week, APS said it included 66 acres of glasshouses across five sites at Arreton on the Isle of Wight with onsite packing facilities. In addition, it has gained a site at Chichester in West Sussex, which houses WSL’s head office function, including a 3,716m2 packhouse.
The combined group would now total 107ha with 43.7ha of glasshouses dedicated to producing tomatoes, APS reported. As a result, it would become the UK’s largest grower and supplier of British tomatoes with projected annual turnover of £100M, providing a significant boost to the British tomato industry.
“The acquisition of WSL is a fantastic opportunity for APS,” said Mark Pearson, group md of Cheshire-based APS. “It allows us to create a British business of real scale, which is good for jobs, our customers and the industry.
“We can now focus on long term stability and growth, and work with our business partners to provide further investment and infrastructural improvements to the growing facilities which WSL have on the Isle of Wight. This will provide long term security of energy and resource efficiency, and broaden our geographical spread.”
Peter Moug, md of WSL, commented: “This deal between two like-minded innovative businesses enables us to create the leading tomato growing company in the UK. The infrastructure in WSL is to be further improved with the investment in new energy centres and growing facilities.
‘Secures long term future’
“I truly believe that this deal, which secures the long term future of the business, will be positively received by our motivated staff members and by our customers.”
Both businesses would continue to focus on their core strengths and customer relationships, ensuring future job security for staff, APS added.
APS is a family-run business, founded in 1949. It employs 381 staff and is 100% privately owned, operating across three sites in Alderley Edge and Middlewich in Cheshire, and Sandwich in Kent. Its salad products include tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.