Primary backs #17 million Thompson & Morgan MBO

Investee Company – Thompson & Morgan (UK)

Investee Company Business Type – Supplier of young plants and packeted vegetable and flower seeds

Type of Financing – Management buyout

Equity Providers – Primary Capital Ltd

Equity Leader (Individual) – Peter Jacobs, Primary Capital Ltd

Debt Providers – Bank of Scotland

Debt Type – Term debt, revolving loan

Debt Leader (Individual) – Stuart Watson, Royal Bank of Scotland

Equity Amount – £8.5 million

Total Deal Value – £17 million

Other Advisors – Osborne Clarke, KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, Taylor Joynson Garrett, Eversheds

Comments – Primary Capital has invested in the management buyout of Ipswich-based Thompson & Morgan, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of young plants and packeted vegetables and seeds. The company has been bought out from International Garden Products Inc.

Thompson & Morgan is a horticultural business which supplies packeted seeds within the UK and also in an export capacity to North America, Scandinavia, Germany, France and many other countries. The current management team, headed up by chief executive John May, is credited with having transformed Thompson & Morgan from a family-run concern to a professionally run international concern.

Worldwide sales in the current year are reported to be in excess of £20 million.

The equity portion of the deal was led and arranged by Primary with the Bank of Scotland providing the debt. Primary will hold a majority stake in the company with the management holding a significant minority.

Thompson & Morgan produces one of the world’s largest colour seed catalogues which has been distributed since 1855, the year in which Thomson & Morgan was started in a small garden behind a baker’s shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich, tended by William Thompson, the bakers son.

May commented: “Gardening is no longer a mainly British pastime but a global business and a hobby of many millions around the world. We are excited about the immediate and long term prospects of the business.”

Peter Jacobs, director of Primary, said: “Thompson & Morgan is a classic mid-market buyout. It is an old-fashioned growth and value driven business, profitable, with excellent prospects.”