Rockpool exits investment with leading greenhouse business Great British Botanical

5 months ago

We are delighted to announce the sale of our portfolio company Great British Botanical (Hartley Botanic) the leading English greenhouse brand, delivering an attractive 5.7x net return to equity investors.

During Rockpool’s hold period, Hartley Botanic doubled in size and now generates more than half of its sales from customers in the United States.

Rockpool took a majority stake in Hartley Botanic in 2016 when the company’s annual sales were £7 million and it had only just begun to sell outside the UK. Following a renewed focus on export sales, Hartley Botanic is on track to generate sales of more than £16m in 2021, with over half made to overseas customers in 32 different countries. Following Rockpool’s exit, Alcuin Capital Partners will take a majority stake in the company.  In April 2021, the company received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the international trade category, having grown export sales by 50% annually since 2017.

Hartley Botanic is led by Tom Barry, Chief Executive Officer, and Martin Toogood, chairman. Tom and Martin became part-owners of the company in a 2016 management buy-in backed by Rockpool and were responsible for developing and executing the company’s brand and growth strategy. They will continue in their roles under Alcuin’s ownership. Martin was previously CEO at B&Q and is currently chairman of Airea plc. Tom’s previous experience includes board roles at B&Q and Dixons Carphone.

Darran Green, Investment Director at Rockpool Investments, said:

“Hartley Botanic’s growth has been a real UK export success story that we have been delighted to be part of. Early on, Rockpool recognised the international appeal of Hartley’s quintessentially English brand and we were pleased to back Tom and Martin as they succeeded in the US market. We wish them and Hartley Botanic every success in the future.” Rockpool and the shareholders were advised by Lincoln International, Bracher Rawlins and KPMG.

Tom Barry, Chief Executive of Hartley Botanic, said:

“This marks a seminal moment in the development of the business, which has grown significantly since Rockpool’s investment. Having a supportive and creative financial backer has really enabled the business to thrive in what has otherwise been a challenging consumer environment. Hartley Botanic is now well-positioned to benefit from the surge in consumer demand for gardening and our direct-to-consumer model meets the needs of today’s horticulturalists. Given Alcuin’s impressive track record, I am sure they will also provide the business with the stability, support, and insight to enable us to continue to maximise our potential both internationally and in the UK.”

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