The Virgin Group has entered into an agreement with Australia's Signature Brands Limited  (SBL) to expand the juice bar business Pulp Health Pty onto international markets.

Under the agreement Virgin will acquire a 20% interest in the Australian parent company Pulp Health Pty Ltd.  Pulp Health and Virgin will form a new company to introduce and expand the Pulp business internationally.  When formed, Virgin will hold 80% of the international company and Pulp Health will hold 20%.

The new company will initially expand into territories such as South Africa and the UK and later into other markets.  Pulp will provide the new company with technical expertise including design, systems, and operations. Virgin, with the support of Sir Richard Branson, will provide shared funding and entrepreneurial support.

Commenting on the agreement, Branson said: "I was initially attracted to Pulp when I visited Ian Duffell (SBL Chairman) earlier this year.  Pulp had just opened in Noosa and the whole family went there daily for their juice and smoothie fix.  It is a fantastic concept and they're really healthy and tasty drinks.  I think it will go down really well in South Africa and the UK.  Fingers crossed that we Brits will get some Aussie sunshine to compliment these fantastic juices when they reach our shores."

The chairman of SBL, Ian Duffell said: "It is a testament to the strength of the Pulp brand that Richard and Virgin are investing in it and are keen to develop a business that doesn't hold the famous Virgin mark.  I am really happy to be working with Richard again and like him, believe we can do a lot with Pulp both here and elsewhere in the world".