Tuesday 24th April 2012, 15:08 London
Univeg denies Argentina sell-off rumours
Company refutes claims that chairman Hein Deprez is planning to buy back some of its fruit plantations in Patagonia
Hein Deprez, chairman of Belgium-based international fresh produce supplier-distributor Univeg, is not planning to buy back some of the company's fruit production areas in Argentina, contrary to reports published by a number of local and trade press publications.
According to the Belgian newspaper Express, Deprez was supposedly preparing to purchase a significant area of land in Patagonia belonging to Univeg's subsidiary Expofrut Argentina, a move it said was designed to provide the group with a cash injection which would reduce its overall debt and thereby improve its standing when securing new bank loans.
As already reported in Fruchthandel, Univeg spokesperson Nancy Goovaerts dismissed the reports, describing them as "unfounded".
Towards the end of 2011, Univeg announced it intended to place more focus on investments in its European market infrastructure, opting to separate its service and trading operations from overseas production.
By forming a separate legal entity called Univeg Fruitpartners, the group also hinted at possible divestments while calling on prospective new investors to enter into partnerships and develop production joint ventures.
In a separate development, the recent merger of Argentina-based fresh produce companies Univeg Expofrut, Expomarket and Univeg Fruit Argentina has reportedly been declared null and void after an apparent misunderstanding between local government officials in Río Negro.