Tomato Firm Ripe For Salad

Cheshire-based APS Salads – one of the UK’s largest suppliers of tomatoes – has completed a £3.67m expansion into the south of England after receiving a major funding package from Yorkshire Bank, sister bank to Clydesdale Bank.

The purpose-built development at Europa Nursery in Ash, Kent, comprises a 57,000 sq m state-of-the-art production facility, almost doubling the size of the existing site capacity and creating 80 new jobs. This means the total number of employees across the group will rise to 340.

Yorkshire Bank’s corporate banking team has provided £2.85m of the funding for the new production facility. The bank previously provided earlier finance in 2010 and 2011 for the initial purchase of the nursery.

APS is forecast to turnover £47m in 2013, compared to just £7m in 2006 when the business became a customer of Yorkshire Bank. Some £13m of projected sales will be generated by the group’s nurseries. As well as supplying Tesco, APS also supplies other retailers including Iceland.

Neil Farrell, a director in Yorkshire Bank’s Manchester-based corporate banking team, said: “The latest phase of expansion by APS Salads underscores the impressive growth potential of a hugely successful business. With a capable and enterprising management team at the helm, there is every reason to suggest APS will continue to generate further profitable growth.”

Mark Pearson, group managing director of APS, said: “We have worked closely with Tesco on the development and expansion of the Europa nursery since 2010 in both initially purchasing the site and again within its recent expansion.”

Mark added: “We are currently working with both Yorkshire Bank and Tesco to further develop the site in line with our growth aspirations and the customer’s requirements. This will create substantial additional turnover and jobs over the next three years.”

APS Salads was founded as A Pearson & Sons in 1949 by Albert and Hilda Pearson. It remains a family business with second, third and fourth generations still actively involved. The company has had a growing site at Alderley Edge since 1972, though it began to expand significantly in 2006 after creating a production and packaging facility in Middlewich.

Photo: Amanda Leigh (group financial controller of APS), Neil Farrell (Yorkshire Bank), Owen Malton (Yorkshire Bank), Mark Pearson (group managing director of APS), David Hunt (Yorkshire Bank) and John Phibbs (financial director of APS) at the Europa Nursery site

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