Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 16:06 UK

Farmer sells salad firm for 50m

Hampshire farmer Malcolm Isaac Vitacress/PA Wire
Hampshire farmer Malcolm Isaac started Vitacress in 1951

A Hampshire farmer, who started a salad company on one acre of watercress beds more than 50 years ago, has sold his business for about 50m.

Andover-based Vitacress Salads was started by Malcolm Isaac in 1951 and is now one of the UK's largest suppliers of prepared and packaged salads.

The company, which also has farms in Dorset and Wiltshire, has been sold to Portuguese company RAR Group.

The deal is subject to the approval of the Portuguese Competition Commission.

Vitacress is also the largest supplier in Europe of watercress, farming about 1,200 hectares (12 million sqm) in England Portugal and Spain, with an annual turnover of 81m and employing about 1,000 people.

Current chief executive Nick Stenning will continue to lead the company through a period of "consolidation and expansion".

It is understood Mr Isaac, 79, will leave the company after RAR's takeover.

The company's headquarters will remain in Andover and staff will not be affected by the sale, the group has confirmed.




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