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ARM Innovation Hub
18 January, 2007 - 14:13 By Staff Reporter

Fresh produce powerhouse set for city

Peterborough is to become home to the UK arm of a formidable European fresh produce powerhouse following the £15.5 million

acquisition of Redbridge Holdings by Fyffes spin-off, Total Produce plc.Already one of the leaders in the UK fresh food market, the acquisition teams Redbridge together with Total's principal UK subsidiary, Total Produce Limited.The new combined European business now has a turnover of E2 billion (£1.3bn), almost 3,900 employees and trades from more than 80 facilities throughout Europe.

Prior to the acquisition, Redbridge had more than 700 employees working at over 20 locations across the UK and Europe. Importing over 80 products from 40 countries and supplying over 50 million cases of produce, the company generated sales in excess of £240m. Total Produce's UK business involved 11 UK operations and lifts the total revenues for the firm close to £400m.

As part of the deal, Total Produce Ltd will continue to use the Redbridge brand. Redbridge chairman, Denis Punter, will become chair of Total Produce Ltd. Seamus Mulvenna, the MD of Total Produce Ltd is also being appointed MD of Redbridge and Roger Allmond, who was the chief operating officer of Redbridge, is being appointed FD of Redbridge and of Total Produce Ltd.

Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce plc, said: "We are very pleased that Redbridge has become part of the group. This substantial company is a very important addition to our UK business.

"Denis, Roger and the team in Redbridge have built a very impressive and efficient business with very significant geographic and product strengths."

Punter said: "Redbridge is combining its activities with Total Produce which will create a much larger UK business. We believe that this is the right move to build and expand the business and to provide the very best service to our customers."

While under the deal Total Produce has acquired 100 per cent of Redbridge Holdings for a maximum cash consideration of £11.75m, the aggregate cost of the transaction reflects a net liability of £3.8m arising from a deficit in Redbridge's defined benefit pension scheme, bringing the total effective maximum cost to £15.5m.

The consideration comprises an initial cash payment of £8.75m plus a further cash payment of up to £3m payable in 2010 if certain minimum profit targets are reached over the next three years.

Excluding the net pension liability, Redbridge Holdings' net assets have a value of approximately £4.8m. The company's profit before tax and exceptional items was £2.4m in the year ended 30 September 2006.

Total Produce plc is comprised of the general produce business which was demerged from Fyffes plc on 30 December 2006 and listed on IEX and AIM markets of the Dublin and London stock exchanges on the 2nd January 2007.

Redbridge's origins stretch back to 1883 when Francis Nicholls was founded. Acquired by Geest then subject of an MBO in 1995, the company became Redbridge one year later after it acquired WorldFresh.

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