Whitchurch’s Grocontinental has been bought out by a global cold storage firm AGRO Merchants Group.

The logistics company, based in Whitchurch Business Park, is one of the largest employers in the town and current bosses David and Linda Grocott will continue to lead the company.

The pair say the decision to become part of AGRO’s global operation was not taken lightly but they are looking forward to a strong future.

“Joining AGRO Merchants Group is great news for Grocontinental,” they said. “We are very proud of the progression and success we have achieved over the years and now we have an excellent opportunity to take the company into a new and exciting era.

“To move Grocontinental into a larger group is not a decision we have taken lightly. We have been very impressed with AGRO’s ambitions, the strength and depth of its structure and expertise, and its respect for our 76-year family-owned business heritage.

“We are looking forward to being part of the future success of the group and continuing to grow our business at Grocontinental.”

Carlos Rodriquez, who founded AGRO just four years ago, said the company was delighted to acquire Grocontintenal and has long identified it as a future part of the company.

He said: “This transaction is the culmination of a process that for me began more than three years ago.

“When we founded AGRO in 2013, I quickly identified Grocontinental as the ideal potential partner in England to join our network. This is not just due to its market leading position, high-quality assets, and deep commodity expertise.

“I was most drawn to the culture and values of the Grocott family, their commitment to the community, and the long-standing relationships with customers and employees.

“We could not be more pleased to welcome Linda, David and the entire Grocontinental team to AGRO Merchants Group.”

Grocontinental is the third significant investment by AGRO in the UK/Ireland, following the 2014 purchase of Castlecool and 2015 acquisition of the Sawyers Group.

AGRO chief finance officer, Arjan Kaaks added: “The completion of this refinancing not only facilitates a transformative acquisition for AGRO but also strengthens our investment capabilities going forward, and delivers longer term funding at improved rates.

“We are now even better positioned to continue with the implementation of our ambitious strategic plan.”