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APS Group to build new greenhouse

The UK's largest tomato grower has secured an investment from a private equity vehicle backed by five UK banks.

APS Group, which employs nearly 110 people across 12.5 hectares of glasshouses in Ash, near Canterbury, will be given a cash injection from Business Growth Fund, although the exact figure is not known.

The company produces 500 million tomatoes a year on 56 hectares across the UK.

It will use the money to build a new glasshouse to extend capacity at existing sites and invest in new technology.

Founded in 1949 by Albert and Hilda Pearson, APS Group is now under the stewardship of chief executive Mark Pearson alongside Philip Pearson and several other members of the Pearson family. Its branch in the county operates under the name A Pearson Growers.

Business Growth Fund has £2.5 billion to invest in growing companies and is backed financially by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered.

Mark Pearson said: “During the past decade we have invested heavily into our greenhouse infrastructure, combined heat and power plants and packhouse automation.

“This has been well received by our customers and there is an opportunity to further expand our capacity and increase supply whilst retaining our quality focus.

“BGF has been flexible in its approach to providing this funding. The investment allows us to implement our growth projects at the same time as keeping control of the business.”

The investment into APS Group makes BGF a minority partner in the business.

BGF investor Matt Widdall will join the board of APS Group.

He said: “The Pearson family has a passion for growing quality produce and providing a first-class service to its customers, which has served the business well for close to 70 years.

“We are delighted to be supporting their continued growth with this funding, backing another forward thinking and innovative family business in the UK.”


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