Lord Sugar is no longer in business with The Apprentice winner Joseph Valente

Valente has taken over his former partner's 50% stake in ImpraGas

The Apprentice 2015 - Joseph Valente

Lord Alan Sugar is no longer in business with The Apprentice 2015 winner Joseph Valente, it has emerged.

Sugar 'hired' Valente during the eleventh series of the BBC contest, choosing him over rival finalist Vana Koutsomitis.

The tycoon invested the £250,000 prize in Valente's boiler company ImpraGas.

However, today it's been revealed that he has split from the business, with Valente buying back his 50% stake.

They remain on good terms, with Sugar promising he will continue to offer support to his former protégé.

Sugar said: "Since winning The Apprentice in 2015 with the prize investment of £250,000, Joseph, along with guidance and support from myself and my advisers, has transformed ImpraGas into a fast growing gas boiler installation company.

"Joseph Valente and I have agreed that he will acquire my shareholding and with it full control of the company will transfer to him.

"I will still be on hand to offer any help and advice required. I wish Joseph and ImpraGas all the very best for the future and will follow their progress with much affection."

Valente added: "I am so grateful for everything Lord Sugar has done for me and I could not have asked for a better partner in the early stages of my business career.

"I owe him a great deal. I am confident that with the winning business model we created together, I can continue to grow the business successfully."

Valente is understood to be the first Apprentice winner to part ways with Lord Sugar since the show's prize changed from a job offer to an investment in 2011.

According to the BBC, he is still working with Tom Pellereau, Ricky Martin, Leah Totton, Mark Wright and Alana Spencer.

The Apprentice will return for its thirteenth run later this year.

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