Rockpool invests in Primrose, Europe’s largest online-only garden products retailer

3 years ago

Rockpool announces its recent investment to support the acquisition of Primrose, Europe’s largest online-only garden products retailer.

Founded in 2003, Primrose offers consumers a market-leading range of over 10,000 garden and outdoor leisure products from ranges including water features, awnings, sail shades, pest control products, planters and screening.

Primrose primarily sources its products from a network of suppliers based in the Far East and sells direct to consumers via its UK and European websites. The company generates half of its sales to UK consumers, a quarter to European customers and the remainder through intermediary websites. Primrose grew revenues to £38m and EBITDA to £2.5m in the year to October 2017.

The acquisition sees Rockpool become the majority owner of the new group, with the management team investing in a significant stake. Mark Pearson, previously chief executive of Gardman Group and Solus Garden & Leisure, led the management buyout and has been appointed as Primrose’s new CEO. The company’s board has been further strengthened by the appointment of David Brock as non-executive chairman and Simon Baker as chief financial officer.

Rockpool has previously invested in the UK outdoor products sector, backing the 2016 acquisition of Hartley Botanic, the leading manufacturer of premium British domestic greenhouses.

The acquisition was supported by OakNorth Bank, which provided senior loans and a revolving credit facility to Primrose.

Mark Pearson, CEO of Primrose, said:

“This transaction marks an exciting opportunity to capitalise on Primrose’s existing position as the UK’s market leader in the online-only garden products sector, offering an unmatched product range and great prices.

Rockpool recognised Primrose’s strengths as a high-quality online retailer from the outset. The business has great potential to complement its existing product offering with improved category range, combined with significant investment in the Primrose customer experience and e-commerce systems. My team and I look forward to working with investors to deliver the investment plan.”

Darran Green, Investment Director at Rockpool, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Primrose into the Rockpool portfolio, adding to our existing UK investments in consumer products and outdoor retail. We believe the company is well-positioned to capture demographic trends favouring mature, home-owning consumers who are increasingly drawn to the competitive prices and product ranges available online.

We look forward to working with Mark and his team as they cement Primrose’s position as the go-to destination for the growing online community of garden enthusiasts.”

Darran Green, Investment Director, and Tom Coey, Investment Executive, led the transaction for Rockpool. Rockpool was advised by Womble Bond Dickinson LLP and Spectrum Corporate Finance. Dow Schofield Watts conducted financial due diligence; commercial due diligence was provided by Luminii Consulting; management due diligence by Catalysis Advisory; and tax advice was provided by Claritas Tax. Management was advised by Smith Cooper Corporate Finance and Shakespeare Martineau.