Farm Ireland

Friday 28 October 2016

Grassland close Drummonds deal

Declan O'Brien

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

Liam Woulfe, MD of Grassland-agro
Liam Woulfe, MD of Grassland-agro

Grassland-Agro has taken full ownership of Drummonds following the purchase of Liffey Mills' 50pc share in the business.

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While both parties refused to comment on the sale price, it is thought that deal was worth in the region of €8m.

Liffey Mills and Grassland Agro bought the troubled Drummonds business in 2009 from Greencore for €15.5m - a consideration that included stock and debts that reduced the initial purchase price significantly over time.

They have successfully run the enterprise as a joint venture over the last seven years, with its fortunes improving considerably under the new owners.

Accounts for Freshmills, the joint venture concern involving Grassland Agro and Liffey Mills, show that turnover at Drummonds since 2012 ranged from €51m to €56m, with profits varying from €1m to €1.5m. The business is now debt free.

Drummonds has its headquarters in Clonee, and a number of depots across north Leinster; including Navan, Ardee, Knockbridge and Drogheda. It employs around 50 fulltime staff.

The business is primarily involved in the grain sector, and takes in around 110,000t annually. It is also a major supplier of seed, fertiliser, and agri-chemicals to its farmer growers.

In addition, it has a feed mill in Navan and is a major supplier of grass seed through its Green Acres brand.

Liam Woulfe of Grassland Agro said he was excited by the acquisition.

"Drummonds has great motivated people working for it and great farmer customers," he said.

"Our objective is to grow the business through adding value to the crops that we are buying in," he said.

Pat Ryan of Liffey Mills said the Drummonds purchase had been a "very successful venture" for the company.

"Drummonds needed to be closely integrated into what we were doing or to go its own way. Liam Woulfe put a value on it and we were happy to take it," he explained.

Mr Ryan stressed that Liffey Mills' close trading arrangements with both Drummonds and Grassland Agro would continue.

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