(Reuters) – Belgian frozen vegetable group Greenyard Foods will merge with fresh fruit company Univeg and gardening company Peatinvest to form a global fruit and vegetable group with 3.7 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in annual sales.
The companies, in which the family of chairman Hein Deprez has major stakes, will then be listed on the Brussels stock exchange through Greenyard Foods as a parent company.
As part of the transaction, new Greenyard Foods shares will be issued to the owners of Univeg and Peatinvest, though the company is looking at ways to increase the free float of the stock after the deal is completed.
Shares of Greenyard Foods rose as much as 9.6 percent in early trading on the Brussels stock exchange on Monday.
Univeg, with a turnover of 3.1 billion euros, will be by far the largest part of the newly created group.
Univeg, which sells produce under the “Seald Sweet” and “Univeg” brands, produces some 1.9 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables and has plantations across the globe, including Argentina, South Africa, Uruguay and Turkey.
Greenyard Foods said the deal was subject to regulatory approvals and due diligence.
Belgian holding company GIMV, which through its vehicle GIMV-XL has a 17.3 percent stake in Greenyard Foods, would also exercise warrants, resulting in a capital increase of 25.6 million euros. ($1 = 0.9465 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)