Chilean soft fruit giant Hortifrut is to merge its frozen berry export business with Alifrut, the country’s largest processor and exporter of frozen fruits and vegetables.
The new company will have a production volume of almost 35,000 tonnes, making it the leading Chilean company in its category.
The two companies said the deal would promote the development and international growth of their main consumer markets such as the US, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
Under the agreement, whose due diligence process is scheduled to end in March 2020 and will be submitted to the National Economic Prosecutor's Office (FNE) for approval, will see the transfer of five frozen production plants as well as the corresponding fixed assets to the new company.
The new company will bring together the Hortifrut’s global commercial platforms and Alifrut’s industrial and commercial expertise as a multi-product frozen processor.
This will allow it to manage a large part of the business value chain, ensuring improved quality and food safety, more stable supply, a varied multi-product offer, and the development of products and formats with new flavours, recipes, designs and personalised nutritional attributes to meet the growing demand in world markets, the companies said in a press release.
In the short term, the new company plans to build a production plant in Peru to boost exports from that country. It will also invest in Chile to increase efficiency, logistics and profitability of its production plants, as well as the strengthening Hortifrut’s existing commercial platform in the US, in order to reach more customers with a wider range of products.
“Thanks to this partnership, Hortifrut consolidates and strengthens its leadership as a global business platform, complementing its offer of value-added products in this integration with Alifrut, the largest frozen fruit and vegetable production company in the country,” said Juan Ignacio Allende, CEO of Hortifrut.
“Our dream and our goal is to become world leaders in healthy, innovative and value-added food solutions,” complements the executive.”
Hortifrut said it sees is huge growth potential in the market for frozen fruit and vegetables with added value due to global concerns about a healthier diet and convenience.
“For Alifrut, this is a strategic step that will allow us to improve the value chain of our exports and strengthen the international projection of the company,” said the company’s CEO Gonzalo Bachelet.
“This association will allow us to directly access the main clients of the world and thus meet the specific needs of new consumer trends, such as fruit mixes, fruit and vegetable mixes, smoothies, new flavours, recipes, personalised nutritional attributes, new packaging and formats, among other innovations.”