San Miguel, the leading producer and exporter of fresh citrus in the Southern Hemisphere, has launched a public share offering to fund its ongoing global expansion.
The Argentinean company has issued 67.2m new shares, representing 9.46 per cent of its share capital, to raise US$49.3m. The offer will close on 7 March.
This will leave owners the Miguens and Otero Monsegur families with a 51 per cent share divided in equal parts.
The company’s directors said they are confident that the US will shortly grant access to imports of fresh lemons grown in the north west of Argentina after the USDA-APHIS dramatically halted plans to lift the 16-year ban last month following direct intervention from the White House.
San Miguel already exports to the US from its farms in Uruguay and South Africa, but says the lifting of the ban will have little impact on its results in the medium term as the US is expected to take just 5,000 tonnes of lemons in 2017 – less than 2.5 per cent of San Miguel’s turnover.
“We have no doubt that Argentine lemons will soon also be allowed into the US, but it won’t lead to a significant change in the volumes that we sell,” said CEO Romain Corneille.
San Miguel exports more than 100,000 tonnes of fresh citrus a year and processes another 400,000 tonnes at its three processing plants in Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa. It has an annual turnover of US$250m, with oranges, mandarins and grapefruit now accounting for more than half of the group’s sales.