Transformative acquisition reinforces market leadership position and substantially enhances value proposition for customers worldwide.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, December 11, 2017 – AGRO Merchants Group, a global leader in cold storage and logistics solutions, announced today the acquisition of UK-based Grocontinental Limited. This transaction reinforces AGRO’s position as the leading cold storage and logistics provider in the United Kingdom and Ireland, deepens its commodity expertise, and substantially enhances its value-added service offerings for customers. David Grocott and Linda Grocott, third generation owners of Grocontinental, will continue to lead the business as Joint Managing Directors.
Established in 1941, Grocontinental is today a leading provider of cold storage and logistics services to the food industry with a particular expertise in the dairy and meat sectors. Based in Whitchurch, Shropshire, Grocontinental operates from a purpose-built 35-acre complex with a warehouse capacity of 197,000 pallets and owned transport solutions. The business offers a range of specialist services including cheese cutting, blast freezing, ingredient sorting, de-boxing and reboxing, shrink-wrapping, bar coding, labelling and export packing. Multi-temperature storage is available from -28°c to +12°c. Grocontinental’s Quality Management System and effective process control is applied throughout the business at every level. The company holds a number of industry accreditations and export approvals including Customs Approved Storage, BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution, BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and SEDEX.
“This transaction is the culmination of a process that for me began more than three years ago,” said Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of AGRO Merchants Group. “When we founded AGRO in 2013, I quickly identified Grocontinental as the ideal potential partner in England to join our network. This is not just due to its market leading position, high-quality assets, and deep commodity expertise. I was most drawn to the culture and values of the Grocott family, their commitment to the local community, and the long-standing relationships with customers and employees. We could not be more pleased to welcome Linda, David and the entire Grocontinental team to AGRO Merchants Group.”
Grocontinental is the third significant investment by AGRO in the UK/Ireland, following the 2014 purchase of Castlecool and 2015 acquisition of the Sawyers Group. The large cold storage capacity in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and England, together with expertise in all commodity types and a strong transportation network, positions AGRO as a market leader providing unique value-added solutions to customers.
Linda Grocott and David Grocott commented: “Joining AGRO Merchants Group is great news for Grocontinental. We are very proud of the progression and success we have achieved over the years and now we have an excellent opportunity to take the company into a new and exciting era.
“To move Grocontinental into a larger group is not a decision we have taken lightly. We have been very impressed with AGRO’s ambitions, the strength and depth of its structure and expertise; and its respect for our 76-year family-owned business heritage. We are looking forward to being part of the future success of the Group and continuing to grow our business at Grocontinental.”
Concurrent with this acquisition, AGRO successfully completed a global refinancing of its senior credit facilities that substantially reduces its cost of capital and provides for a new revolving line of credit. AGRO also received a substantial equity investment from funds affiliated with Oaktree Capital Management.
“The completion of this refinancing not only facilitates a transformative acquisition for AGRO but also strengthens our investment capabilities going forward, and delivers longer term funding at improved rates,” said Arjan Kaaks, Chief Financial Officer. “We are now even better positioned to continue with the implementation of our ambitious strategic plan.”
About AGRO Merchants Group
AGRO Merchants Group operates 63 facilities in 11 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. With 264 million cubic feet and 975,000 pallets of capacity, AGRO has become the most international, and 5th largest player in the industry globally. AGRO delivers superior fresh and frozen food handling solutions through an international network of facilities using local market knowledge, with a focus on customer care and sustainability. AGRO aspires to be the leading partner in temperature-controlled logistics for the global food industry, and is recognized for its innovative thinking, commodity expertise and ability to integrate businesses. The company is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and respect for its rich heritage.