Great Yarmouth-based J&H Bunn gains a foothold in Europe

The new American owners of Norfolk-based J&H Bunn Group are poised to begin selling nitrogen-based fertilisers in Europe following their takeover of the company.

US giant Koch Fertilizer bought the family-run business in a multi-million pound deal last year.

Koch Fertilizer is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kansas, one of the largest private companies in the US.

The company globally supplies more than 13m tonnes of fertiliser annually.

And the move looks set to give the American owners a foothold in the European market, starting with France.

UK-based Koch Fertiliser Ltd, a subsidiary of Koch Fertilizer, LLC, acquired the family-run business last year.

Koch Fertilizer first entered the European market with the acquisition of fertiliser importer or marketer, Francefert in Paris, in 2007. This was followed by the acquisition of Usborne Limited Fertiliser in the UK in 2008. The acquisition of Bunn allows Koch to transition from a fertiliser importer to a blender and distributor in the UK.

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Richard Sunderland, Bunn's general manager, said: 'With eight terminal locations throughout the UK, Bunn can supply the market with straight and blended fertiliser products, as well as innovative products like Koch Advanced Nitrogen fertiliser. '

Jim Holt, Bunn's retail and technical sales manager, outlined how the company was increasing its presence in Europe.

'We have got a population to feed, which will keep increasing and the only way of doing that is by improving husbandry and fertiliser techniques,' Mr Holt said.

'Koch took over last year and are very big nitrogen producers,' he said.

'The area they want to focus on is Europe and Bunn will be the means of getting into Europe. It's very exciting stuff and we have started to get a foothold in Europe. It's product we are moving out of Avonmouth into France.'

Founded in 1816, Bunn has an 18pc share in the British fertiliser market, and employs more than 170 staff at eight sites across the country.

It recently opened a new corporate headquarters on the Broadland Business Park to oversee its operations across Britain.

This month Fakenham-based Payne Brothers, which is owned by Bunn, changed its name to Bunn as part of a process to reflect the greater integration of the group's subsidiary businesses.

Mr Holt added: 'It's an expanding business and there will be quite a big expansion going forward.

'No terminal is more than 100 miles away from any of our plants and from the point of view of getting our products to the farms, we have got a very good production and distribution network.'

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