Capespan Group, through associate company Rapiprop, has purchased 490ha of apple, pear and plum production area in Grabouw, in South Africa’s Western Cape, for an undisclosed sum.

Applethwaite Ltd, previously owned by the Lombardi Trust, is being taken over as a going concern along with 300 employees. 'The purchase underscores Capespan's continued focus on growth and development,' said managing director Neil Oosthuizen.

Applethwaite, which has supplied Capespan for over 60 years, exports 260,000 cartons of apples, 50,000 cartons of pears and 100,000 trays of plums annually. Rapiprop MD Brian Mackinnon said current work to redevelop orchards would continue.