The dismembering of Manchester based Cooperative Group continues as this morning it is announced that The Wellcome Trust has agreed to buy the Co-op Group’s farms business for £249m.
The net proceeds of the deal, which includes 15,997 hectares of freehold and third party owned land, 15 farms, including 3 pack houses, over 100 residential properties and 27 commercial properties, will be used to further reduce The Co-operative’s debt and invest in its core businesses.
The Wellcome Trust is the world’s second highest-spending charitable foundation, dedicated to driving improvements in human and animal health. It spends more than £700 million a year on supporting bright minds in biomedical research, the humanities and the social sciences, and on public engagement and education in these fields.
Richard Pennycook, Interim Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, said that the successful sale of our Farms business is another important development for The Co-operative Group. The sale proceeds will enable us to further reduce our debt and progress with the delivery of the clear strategic plans we have in place for our core retail and consumer services’ divisions adding
“In the Wellcome Trust we have a buyer whose values are closely aligned to those of The Co-operative. They have a proven track record in managing a sustainable investment portfolio, the proceeds of which are used to fund improvements in biomedical science and learning. The Wellcome Trust has acquired an excellent farming business characterised by the quality and professionalism of colleagues and high levels of customer service. I expect the farming business to continue to thrive under their committed long-term ownership.”
The deal follows the sale earlier this summer of the groups Pharmacy business to Bestway Group for £620 million.
The farm business dates back over 100 years and employs some 250 people in 15 farms and three packhouses across England and Scotland, producing cereals, fruit, vegetables and honey