Agrial is a French farming and food cooperative which operates in the milk, fresh vegetables and fruit, beverages and meat sectors. Its beverage division operates in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and is France’s largest producer of cider.
In 2017, Aston Manor recorded turnover of £134m and exported its products to more than 20 countries while the Agrial Group achieved a turnover of €5.5bn.
Aston Manor is behind brands such as Kingstone Press, Frosty Jack’s and Knights as well as several own-label products. It has 300 employees across four production sites in Stourport, Witton, Aston and Tiverton.
Gordon Johncox, chief executive of Aston Manor Cider, said: “Aston Manor have been looking at strategic options and for a partner to continue the growth of the company and, in doing so, to broaden our offering.
“With Agrial we have found this partner, a strong group with a well-developed portfolio of products and a well-developed international platform. The operating philosophy and values of Agrial are closely aligned to our own and the leadership of Aston Manor are delighted with this agreement and the opportunities it brings.”
Marc Roubaud, managing director of the drinks division of Agrial, said: “It was crucial for Agrial to assert our global ambitions in the cider market by gaining a foothold in the world’s largest cider market, close to our heartland and the orchards of our members.
“Aston Manor Cider and Agrial are companies with a similar profile and with shared priorities on both brands and private label and we are excited to combine our strengths to offer all our customers.”
James Ellis, chief financial officer at Aston Manor Cider and member of the founding Ellis family, added: “It was extremely important to my family that we found a new owner that mirrors our own values, that will offer strong custodianship of the family business that we have built and nurtured for 35 years.
“This deal will provide the company and our staff with continuing opportunities to grow. Agrial is the perfect fit, and we are delighted to build Aston Manor’s future with them.”