Hunter’s Flying Brands sells gardening business

Flying Brands, the Aim-quoted mail order business in which Sir Tom Hunter owns a 29 per cent stake, has sold the retail arm of its Gardening Direct business for £2.875 million, leaving the firm with only a farm on Jersey.

Jersey Choice will pay Flying Brands £2.25m up front and a further £625,000 on 30 April 2013, well above the assets’ book value of £200,000.

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Shares in the penny stock jumped 44 per cent in early trading after the sale was announced.

Selling off the retail arm of Gardening Direct leaves the company with just its Retreat Farm property on Jersey, where its flowers are grown.

Flying Brands said: “The company had originally intended to continue to operate its Growing & Live Dispatch (GLD) business from its property at Retreat Farm but it is now in advanced discussions to lease the greenhouses and dispatch centre at Retreat Farm to Jersey Choice until 30 June 2014. If, as expected, this lease is entered into then GLD will be discontinued.”