Birketts advises The Milbank Group on the acquisition of pioneering plant bio stimulant business

21 May 2020

Birketts, the leading law firm, has advised The Milbank Group on the acquisition of pioneering plant bio stimulant business Orion Future Technology Ltd.

Family owned Milbank Group continues to grow its diversified portfolio of businesses with the acquisition of Orion Future Technology, following a successful retirement sale. Orion FT complements the Milbank Group’s already diverse range of agricultural businesses including ARK Agriculture Ltd and Thomas & Fontaine Ltd (trading as Secure Covers).

Martyn Charik and Gidon Bahiri, founders and directors of Orion FT said, “We set Orion up 15 years ago and have really enjoyed developing it into the successful international business it is today. We have also enjoyed working with our wonderful customers and friends at Reading and Hertfordshire Universities. We thank them for the friendship and loyalty developed over the years. We explored a number of options for some time and both agreed that the family owned Milbank Group, with its young management team, would take the business forward whilst maintaining the high level of service, research and development that our customers are used to.”

Orion FT was established in 2005 and has built its business as the pioneer in silicon based biostimulant technology and a lead provider of plant nutrient solutions. Orion FT have developed novel product formulations that stimulate natural plant defence mechanisms to protect crops against pest and disease attack. This technology has application across all sectors including agriculture, horticulture, ornamentals, amenity and forestry.

Over the past 15 years the business has grown significantly. From its operational base in the United Kingdom it has established sales in 20 countries around the world including those in Europe, Africa and Central America.

Orion FT products are widely used on edible crops due to their complementary application within integrated pest management programs. There are also fantastic opportunities for application in broadacre crops to support, enhance and protect traditional chemistry.

Milbank Group is committed to continuing the vital research that Orion FT currently conduct, in conjunction with leading Universities around the world, to enable them to remain at the forefront of safe and sustainable global food production. Combining this research with a strategic drive to develop exciting new products will ensure the business continues to grow. Customer service and product quality will remain a core principle and continue at the same very high standard that the industry has come to expect.

James Kennedy, formally of Gemini Agriculture and Certis UK, will take over as Orion FT Commercial Director with immediate effect, and will be supported by the team at ARK Agriculture (a Milbank Group company).

Joining the well-established agricultural division of the Milbank Group, Orion FT will be well positioned to flourish in an environment full of exciting opportunities, rooted with values that encourage business development, growth and success. Gidon and Martyn, founders of Orion FT, will be available in the background to support the team, throughout the transition and in the short term, to ensure business continuity.

The continued efforts to strengthen and diversify the Milbank Group will work towards goals of reducing risk and increasing safety and security for employees, customers and suppliers. Sean Milbank of the Milbank Group said, “The Group’s agricultural businesses have performed well during the 2nd quarter of 2020 despite the impact of Coronavirus globally.”

As a part of the Milbank Group, Orion Future Technology join ARK Agriculture, Thomas & Fontaine (t/a Secure Covers), Milbank Concrete Products, Cadman Cranes and Sui Generis International. A detailed overview of each Group company can be found within the Groups website.

The acquisition of Orion Future Technology Ltd was completed on Friday 15 May 2020 which was led by Prism Corporate Broking (buy side advisors), Birketts Solicitors and Ensors (Tax Due Diligence).

Birketts advised on all legal matters and James Allen, Partner in Birketts' Corporate Team, led the transaction supported by various other specialists across the firm including Stephanie Newman.


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