13 August 1999

Farmwealth Polish move

BRITISH investment company Farmwealth has more than doubled its stake in central Europe, taking over Polands largest farming company, Kombinat Rolny Glubezyce, in the south of the country.

As a former state farm, (privatised in 1993), Glubezyce covers 12,500ha (30,875 acres) of mainly alluvial soil, rented from the government on a 30-year renewable lease.

Arable and dairying make up the bulk of the farming activity, though the purchase also includes a meat processing plant, a contracting business and a haulage fleet. About 3500 cows produce 16.5m litres of milk a year, and the farm also turns out some 75,000t of sugar beet, 37,000t of cereals and 7,500t of oilseed rape.

Staffing runs to several hundred and, as part of the takeover, Farmwealth has agreed with the unions not to make any redundancies for the first three years.

Together with another farm in the west of Poland, and three more in the Czech Republic, Farmwealth now has about 20,000ha (49,400 acres) under its control, making it one of the biggest farming companies in the region. Sentry Farming, which manages these other units, is also expected to be involved at Glubezyce. &#42