Sentinel acquires controlling interest in Floral Plant Growers

NEW YORK, October 28, 1996 - Sentinel Capital Partners today announced the acquisition of Floral Plant Growers in a management buyout transaction valued at $32.5 million. Floral, headquartered in Rising Sun, Maryland, produces, markets and sells specialty floriculture products to lawn and garden centers of mass merchant retailers. Floral owns and operates two greenhouses with 17 acres of production capacity. Floral Plant Growers is now well-positioned to pursue a consolidation strategy within the fragmented specialty horticulture industry.

Floral primarily serves the $2 billion per year bedding plant segment of the horticulture industry which has grown at 10% per annum for the past 10 years. The greying of America and the maturing of the baby-boom generation continue to fuel industry growth. Also, the aggressive entry into the market by big-box retail chains such as Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Target, all of whom operate large enclosed greenhouses in their stores, is further fueling industry growth.

Gardening is one of the most popular leisure activities in the U.S. While big-box retailers are enjoying profitable growth in the lawn and garden category, many of their smaller suppliers lack the sophistication to adequately serve the mass merchant channel. Floral's strategy is to actively participate in consolidating the industry by acquiring these smaller companies.