The Hunt and Smales families are very pleased to announce that as of this week an agreement has been reached whereby R Hunt Ltd and New Forest Farm Machinery Ltd will merge to form a new company, Hunt Forest Group.
New Forest Farm Machinery is a high performing Agricultural, Professional Turf, Homeowner and Construction dealer trading from 2 outlets, New Forest Farm Machinery have recently opened a new turf equipment outlet at Cadbury Business Park in Sparkford, near Yeovil in Somerset. The premises serve the dealer’s extended trading area that was initially established in 2014 after New Forest took over the professional turf business of Rochford Garden Machinery. The dealership offers John Deere’s full range of professional golf and amenity turf equipment including mowers, aerators, sprayers, tractors and Gator utility vehicles, as well as homeowner and construction equipment. Based at Ringwood in Hampshire, New Forest Farm Machinery has been a John Deere agricultural dealer since 1979 and has held the turf franchise since John Deere’s commercial and consumer equipment business, as it was then known, started in 1986. The company also have extensively refurbished it’s Ringwood customer retail area, helping to strengthen the customer experience and quality of service provided by New Forest and cementing the agreement between the 2 businesses. Although focusing heavily on turf and homeowner business, NFFM still maintain over two thirds of the agricultural tractor market share in their area of responsibility. New Forest currently employs 43 people.
R Hunt is a highly successful John Deere Agricultural and Homeowner dealer, focusing primarily on agricultural products and services from 4 outlets covering Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight. R Hunt currently is capturing around fifty percent of the tractor market with similar figures for harvesting equipment.
R Hunt Ltd have been a John Deere dealer since 1971 and have consistently grown from the family home in Anna Valley, Hampshire. The company has a strong emphasis on customer service that carries on from the late Roger Hunt and as an example, regularly runs training schools for customers to help optimise their machines and ensure the maximum return from their investments, new or used. R Hunt were the first dealer to sell AutoTrac in the UK and Ireland, a product now considered mainstream and pioneered the first dealer owned mobile RTK network to spearhead the guidance revolution. The company has a deep understanding of available technology and precision agriculture, supported with staff working from within a dedicated FarmSight department. Today the company has 71 staff.
Management members from both businesses are carried over to form one board of directors led by Tim Hunt – known to many customers of both businesses already.
Two already very strong and profitable businesses will merge, to give Hunt Forest Group not only access to the full line of John Deere products for those depots where permitted and other shared franchises but also more resources for customers and staff, more inventory both parts and wholegoods, more product support capability and a wider knowledge base – all of which are paramount to deliver a distinctive customer experience.
“The emphasis of the merger is very much on the ability for both companies to grow and have the opportunity to engage with more customers, plus provide diversification with the franchises held by New Forest Farm Machinery for the entire business. As well as aligning with the John Deere ‘Dealer of Tomorrow’ strategy, both families feel confident that this merger helps to establish Hunt Forest Group as a frontline Ag and Turf dealer for the future in the UK” said managing director Tim Hunt.
Ed Smales, New Forest Managing Director adds, “Having a long-standing relationship, we are excited about our future working with the Hunt family to further grow our business. Their experience in large Ag and precision farming will enhance the customer experience within our current territory and we are looking forward to being able to expand Hunt Forest Group creating a diverse and robust business for the future”
Whilst there may be some initial movement of some specialist staff to other depots where coverage for specific products is required, there are no changes to depot structure or teams planned to ensure continuity and a consistent experience for our customers.
Although the merger is expected to be fully completed in January 2019, customers should expect to see company branding, marketing and communications all under the new name of Hunt Forest Group in the coming months.
Tim Hunt, Managing Director – R.Hunt Ltd.
Ed Smales, Managing Director – New Forest Farm Machinery