Fisons finally gets out of fertiliser

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The Independent Online
FISONS, the pharmaceuticals company, yesterday severed its last links with fertiliser when it sold its horticultural business - supplier of Gro- bags and compost - to its management team, writes Heather Connon.

The business, which will be re-named Levington Horticulture, has been on the market for more than two years. It represented the last remnants of Fisons' agricultural interests - the bulk fertiliser business was sold 10 years ago - and was put on the market as part of the group's strategy of focusing on research-based business: drugs and scientific equipment.

It still has small horticulture interests in France and the Netherlands but their sale is also under discussion.

The management team is paying pounds 25.3m in a buyout, led by Phil Parry, who will be managing director, and backed by Prudential Venture Managers. The business made pounds 3.8m operating profit on sales of pounds 47m in 1993 and is estimated to have about 26 per cent of the retail market for fertilisers, composts and garden chemicals.

Fisons also announced the conclusion of its agreement, announced at the beginning of 1993, to give 8,000 acres of peatland to English Nature.