Chile kiwifruit picker

Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a company of Manulife Investment Management (MIM), has announced the majority acquisition of leading Chilean fruit grower-packer-exporter David Del Curto, on behalf of its third-party clients.

David Del Curto (DDC) produces over ten different fruit types across 11 farms, operates three packing facilities with a capacity of 9m boxes of fruit and manages one of the largest nurseries in the country.

The company will continue to be led by Fernando Cisternas, the current chief executive, and the management team, who will oversee day-to-day operations and key strategic growth projects.

Stephen J Blewitt, global head of private markets of MIM, said the acquisition is in keeping with MIM’s priority to strategically grow its private markets offering.

“David Del Curto is a well-respected firm with more than 65 years of success in fruit production and extensive sales relationships throughout Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East,” said Blewitt,

“The acquisition strengthens and diversifies our existing portfolio as DDC is in a solid position; both currently with market-leading characteristics and for the future with state-of-the-art farmland facilities and opportunity for additional strategic growth.”

William E Peressini, chief executive of HNRG, said the acquisition will also benefit from preserving a connection to the previous ownership, The Corso Group (TCG), which will maintain a minority stake.

Peressini said TCG’s experience in managing through Chile’s agricultural cycle and the overall continuity in management expertise will have both tangible and intangible impact on the future success of the company.

“We are very excited to work on the ownership transition with the strong DDC management team that is already in place and value The Corso Group’s continuing partnership,” Peressini said.

“We will also work closely with the existing teams on land stewardship which we anticipate will include redeveloping existing orchards and developing those orchards that have not been under cultivation. Through these efforts we will look to expand DDC’s production, as well as enhance existing and new marketing partnerships, to create additional opportunity.”