Sector News

Hortifrut’s US$280M acquisition of Atlantic Blue bolsters European position

October 23, 2021
Food & Drink

Hortifrut is purchasing Atlantic Blue for US$280 million. Atlantic Blue is a key player in the growing and marketing of berries in Europe and Northern Africa, based in Huelva, Spain.

The transaction will allow Hortifrut to expand its growing area by about 20% and consolidate its position as the largest fresh blueberry platform in Europe and the UK.

“This is a significant step to boost our growth in Europe, the second-largest market in the world for fresh berries. Without a doubt, this is one of the most relevant and strategic acquisitions in Hortifrut’s history and will allow us to strengthen our position within the global berry industry,” says Hortifrut CEO Juan Ignacio Allende.

Building breeding capacities
According to Allende, the transaction provides the company with the leverage to strengthen and build its variety development and breeding capabilities.

The move will also enable Hortifrut to accelerate growth and deliver a greater product range to global customers.

This acquisition will add roughly 850 hectares to Hortifrut’s growing area across the three countries where Atlantic Blue operates. This includes 400 hectares in Spain, 248 hectares in Morocco and 200 hectares in Peru.

The purchase of the hectares in Morocco will allow the company to complete the supply of its blueberries in Europe year-round.

With raspberries in this country and Portugal, the company will bolster the supply of berries all year round for its European customers.

In addition to Atlantic Blue’s farms and facilities, the transaction includes the Site Acceptance Test (SAT) processing plant, 100% of Euroberry commercial platform, with annual sales of approximately €200 million (US$232.5 million).

Atlantic Blue’s variety and breeding development program of blueberries and low chill cherries will also be included as part of the acquisition. Further, it also opens new growth and investment opportunities for the company in Europe and provides a solid foundation to meet the growing demand for high-quality European berries.

Company values
The purchase involves an investment of €241 million in company value, equivalent to approximately US$280 million.

Of that amount, €24 million (US$27.9 million) were paid on September 30, 2021 and €73.2 million (US$85.1 million) will be paid at the closing of the transaction planned for November 30, 2021. The remaining balance is to be paid in ten equal annual installments.

Interest is subject to the consumer price index in Spain plus a margin of 0.5%, with a floor of 1% and a ceiling of 4%.

Edited by Elizabeth Green


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