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1 November, 2007 - 17:20 By Staff Reporter

Fresh produce merger to create

Peterborough-based fresh produce supply specialist, Produce World Group, is in discussions to merge Marshalls of Butterwick into the business for an undisclosed amount with both parties hopeful of reaching a deal by the end of November.

A deal between the two would see the creation of a £230 million fresh produce specialist with a 1,250 strong workforce, six UK production sites – including its first outside East Anglia – and one in Spain as well as another Spanish joint venture. Produce World has already grown by around 50 per cent in the last two years both organically and through various acquisitions and mergers, lifting employee numbers to 650 and turnover to £130m. If the Marshalls merger does progress, William Burgess, Produce World’s chief executive officer, expects the two to continue to operate from their existing facilities. “Marshalls operates in a different product category to us. This is not a synergy based deal, we would look to increase our portfolio,” said Burgess. “We are a family business and are looking to grow in a consolidating market and will evaluate opportunities as they arise, though if this deal goes through, the focus is consolidating the business and organic growth. “There is very strong growth in the fresh organic produce market, growing at double digit figures still.”

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