Cannabis producer buys Spalding farm group
Spalding-based Bridge Farm Group has been bought by a licensed cannabis producer from Canada.
The transaction paves the way for a massive expansion that will make Bridge Farm one of Europe's largest, fully automated protected growing facilities of a medicinal cannabis extract (CBD).
CBD (cannabidiol) is obtained from cannabis and its cousin, hemp, but does not cause a "high".
The extract is said to be beneficial for a range of health conditions, including anxiety, depression and heart disease, and is sometimes an option for pain and symptom relief for cancer patients.
The executive chairman of Sundial Growers, Ted Hellard, said: "Bridge Farm has been an acquisition we have set a goal on for some time.
"Their current structure size of 1.5 million square feet will be increased to 3.5 million by the end of 2021, allowing Bridge Farm to become one of the largest fully automated, protected growing facilities in Europe.
"We believe it gives Sundial the opportunity to be one of the first movers at scale within the CBD wellness market within Europe.
"Bridge Farm’s supply chain capability and retail relationships along with unparalleled capacity bring with it exciting possibilities for Sundial’s global wellness brand platform. We welcome David (Ball) and his team on board."
Bridge Farm chief executive David Ball said: "As a family business we are very proud of the way we have grown Bridge Farm to its current position as one of the most successful UK horticultural businesses.
"Demand for CBD products is growing with increasing consumer awareness in the UK market.
"However, consumers want confidence in the products they buy. Our philosophy as growers is that plants must be high quality and grown in a sustainable way and we will now be able to bring that expertise to CBD health products."
Bridge Farm Group started out as Bridge Farm Nurseries and was founded by Tony and Jayne Ball in 1988.
Their son, David, became involved in the running of the business in 2010.
Originally the nursery grew house plants for the wholesale trade but has expanded greatly.
As well as Bridge Farm, the group includes Neame Lea and Zyon.