BRIDGE FARM NURSERIES

Company overview

Bridge Farm Nurseries is a producer of ornamental plants and flowers headquartered in Spalding, Lincolnshire with more than 500 employees at peak times. Working with major supermarkets, including Aldi and Tesco, under the brand name Neame Lea, it is well positioned to benefit from the increasing importance of outdoor plants, flowers and herbs as a category.

With significant investment in glasshouse infrastructure and biomass heating, Bridge Farm has become the lowest cost producer in the industry. Recent investment from NorthEdge Capital will enable the management team to continue this capital expenditure programme.

Brief & process

Rob Freer, who led the deal for NorthEdge, approached Directorbank’s George Heppenstall to source a PE-savvy Chairman to strengthen the management team post investment. A key selection criteria was the candidate’s ability to relate effectively to the entrepreneurially-minded CEO, David Ball, and support him with the ongoing development and growth of the business.  A successful track record of maximising returns for private equity investors, preferably within the FMCG sector, was also a major consideration.

A comprehensive assessment of the Directorbank network of proven FMCG Chairman was undertaken, and this was supported by a detailed market review of potential candidates led by our research team. A number of strong contenders were identified from which Clive Sharpe was successfully appointed to the position.

Result

With a career spanning 35 years across a variety of FMCG categories, Clive brings a wealth of commercial, leadership and private equity experience to the Bridge Farm board. Encompassing both branded and private label products, his career includes chairman roles at Janan Meat, First Milk, Peters Food Service, Quorn Foods and Burton’s Biscuit Company as well as non-executive directorships at S&A Foods, F Duerr & Sons, Tangerine Confectionery Group and Adelie. He was formerly the CEO at Golden Wonder, WT Foods and Homepride Foods.