William Sinclair set for multimillion-pound payout

Lincoln-based William Sinclair is set for a major cash injection after agreeing to a ?21.25m settlement for loss of interests at its Cumbria site. It comes as the business posted widening pre-tax losses in its first half.

The horticulture company, which supplies the likes of B&Q, Tesco, Wilkinson, Morrisons and Makro,?reached a ?21.25m settlement with Natural England over the buyout of its land and peat extraction rights at Bolton Fell, which resulted in the closure of its factory at the site.

The final settlement was agreed before a tribunal case, which was due to begin today (30 June). The company was paid ?9m in April 2010, with the remaining ?12.25m due in the coming weeks.

Peter Rush, chief executive of William Sinclair Holdings, said: “We are delighted with the ?21.25m agreement to settle our claim at Bolton Fell.

“After four years of negotiations this is a significant step forward and our strong financial footing will enable us to accelerate the company’s transition to become the UK’s most advanced manufacturer of horticulture products.”

The pay-out, which is due in “the next few weeks”, comes after the company reported widened pre-tax losses during the six months to 31 March 2014.

William Sinclair Holdings posted pre-tax losses of ?3.7m compared with ?1.8m for the same period a year earlier. The group said the losses were down to “exceptional” refinancing costs of ?1m and dual running costs of ?300,000.

It added that trading conditions during the period were “challenging”, with revenue up by ?1.4m to ?21.8m.

Rush added: “While there are further milestones to be met the largest investments have been committed and good progress has been made with the more challenging work. Improvements to product quality and efficiency benefits are already being created.”

“Product quality and consistency are paramount to our potential and existing customers and we will be working closely with them to ensure that our forthcoming 2015 product range not only matches these expectations but exceeds them.”

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