Origin expands fertiliser business into Europe

Origin Enterprises has expanded its fertiliser business through the acquisition of the Pillaert-Mekoson Group in Belgium for an undisclosed sum. Dublin-based Origin has bought the entire shareholding using existing bank facilities.

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Pillaert-Mekoson, based in Ghent, was established over 50 years ago and made earnings of €1.8 million on 2017 revenues of €35m. It distributes product for Yara, K+S, ICL and other brands, as well as having its own blending plant and automated bagging and packaging lines to produce standard and bespoke prescription blends. It recently constructed a 35,000 tonne store and can accept vessels of up to 2,500 tonnes at its port terminal at Ghent. The company supplies business-to-business wholesale and retail customers in Belgium and the surrounding regions, and can move raw materials and finished product by both road and canal. 

Origin has built a significant UK import and blending presence in recent years, and now has 12 production and distribution sites across the country. In 2011 it acquired the Carr’s Fertiliser business and three blending plants, followed by the purchase of Bunn Fertiliser in March 2017 for £14.2 million. It distributes product throughout the UK, Ireland and Eastern Europe under the Origin Fertilisers, Gouldings and PB Kent brands.

“Pillaert-Mekoson is an excellent strategic fit for the Group,” comments Origin chief executive Tom O’Mahony. “The transaction strongly complements our prescription fertiliser and speciality nutrition business and benefits from a well invested and strategically located asset base.

“The acquisition will add further scale to the Group’s crop nutrition portfolios and will provide an important expansion into a new geography offering multi-channel access to farm with meaningful future growth potential. We are delighted to welcome managing director Peter Pillaert, Pierre Detry and the Pillaert-Mekoson team to Origin.”

Mr Pillaert adds: “My management team and employees are delighted to join forces with Origin, being one of the most dynamic and significant players in our industry in Europe today. In Origin we have a like-minded partner with an extensive range of innovative nutrition products and a depth of technical support and product knowledge which will enable our client offering and service to take a substantial step forward.”