Property investors are lining up to buy a Moray tree nursery with a £3 million minimum price tag.
Galbraith put Christie-Elite Nurseries, on the outskirts of Forres, on the market about a fortnight ago.
The £1.8 million turnover business covers more than 160 acres, including freehold and leasehold land, and produces six to eight million trees a year.
Christie-Elite is among assets that were owned by former Ithaca Energy chief executive Bill Dunnett, who died last September, aged 59, after battling a long illness.
Its sale includes the stock of finished plants on order and growing trees at various stages of development.
In an update today, Tom Stewart, a partner with Galbraith in Aberdeen, said: “There has been a good level of interest in Christie-Elite Nurseries over the past two weeks.”
The forestry sector continues to be very active, and global concerns about energy security and security of domestic timber supply will further boost the market.”
Tom Stewart, partner, Galbraith.
Mr Stewart added: “Potential purchasers who have approached us include established forestry companies, investors wishing to run a standalone business themselves and investors who are acting on behalf of shareholders, both nationally and internationally.
“The forestry sector continues to be very active, and global concerns about energy security and security of domestic timber supply will further boost the market.”
He continued: “Christie-Elite is a thriving business and among its many assets are its very knowledgeable and loyal staff.
“They have impressed me no end and remembered me from previous tree purchases I made for my own farm.”
Future global demand, strong government support and an overarching demand for low carbon all add up to a strong business case for growing and/or investing in trees.
Christie-Elite is one of the best -known UK growers of commercial tree species, specialising in broadleaf varieties as well as conifers for timber production.
It is also believed to be the only UK tree grower producing both bare-root and cell-grown saplings, and one of the only nurseries in the world growing native Scottish montane species.
Established in 1819, the business produces and ships trees each winter to clients across Scotland, the wider UK and mainland Europe for forestry, woodland and hedging.
It is for sale – at offers over £3m – as a growing concern, including its heated and equipped polytunnels as well as stores used in connection with growing and storing the trees.
Buildings on the site and forming part of the deal include Bogton Farmhouse, a B-listed detached traditional house in need of renovation, and the Christie-Elite’s main office.
Mr Stewart added: “Christie-Elite is renowned for the quality of its trees and has an outstanding reputation based on over 200 years of experience.
“This is a rare opportunity to acquire a successful business in the flourishing forestry sector.
“Timber is in huge demand globally and in the UK we currently import 80% of our timber.
“There is enormous potential to meet domestic and international demand.
“In addition, government targets for new tree planting and increased provision of hedgerows on farmland further boosts demand for premium growing trees.”
Business development potential
He continued: “Christie-Elite has a significant range of bespoke buildings, plant and machinery in addition to the landholding, which is highly productive.
“The purchasers could potentially further develop the business, subject to the necessary planning consents.”
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