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Flying Brands sells more businesses to focus on Gardening Direct

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Flying Brands is selling three more businesses as it narrows its focus to its Gardening Direct business and its Retreat Farm growing and despatch operations.

The company has announced that, subject to shareholder approval, it will sell Garden Bird Supplies, Garden Centre Online and Listen2 for £0.72m. The buyer is The Garden and Home Trading Company, a subsidiary of MBL Group.

The move comes a little over five weeks since Flying Brands announced the sale of its gifts division, including its Flying Flowers brand, to Interflora.

Then Flying Brands said it would concentrate on its gardening and bird supplies businesses, having previously sold off most of its entertainment businesses. This latest announcement sees it move out of the wild bird food industry and sell its final entertainment business, Listen2.

The company said that the three businesses being sold turned over about £6m in the year to the end of 2010 and generated operating profit of £0.6m. But in the six months to July 1 2011 they turned over £3.1m and made a small operating loss. The net book value of the assets was £4.9m on July 1 2011, said Flying Brands, which will be paid in £0.72m in cash for the businesses, a considerable discount to that price tag.

In its statement to the stock exchange Flying Brands said: “Following the sale of the properties at Retreat Farm and Meadow Springs in December 2011, and the proposed sale of the Gifts division, the disposals are a continuation of the Board’s strategy to enhance shareholder value.”

MBL is a distributor and wholesaler of home entertainment products but had decided it was no longer financially viable to supply direct to major retailers following the loss of a major customer in April 2011. It decided instead to move towards direct to consumer and online sales, and described its purchases from Flying Brands as complementary to its existing operations.

Peter Cowgill, chairman of MBL, said: “I am very pleased to announce the purchase of Listen2, Garden Bird Supplies and Garden Center Online. The purchase broadens the scope of the group’s operations and supports the board’s strategic intent to strengthen the group following the loss of its major customer last year.”

Separately, Flying Brands is selling intellectual property of Garden Centre Online to Williams Commerce for £0.08m.

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