Generic business handshake

In an announcement to the stock exchange, fresh produce giant Total Produce has announced that it has increased its shareholding in North American importer-distributor Oppy, while revealing that Oppy itself has entered 'strategically important agreements' with BayWa-owned T&G Global.

The group said it had completed the purchase of a further 30 per cent of Grandview Ventures Limited (GVL), which trades under the names of the Oppenheimer Group and Oppy, for a consideration of €28.4m (C$39.5m).

This is in addition to the initial 35 per cent acquired in 2013, bringing Total Produce’s shareholding of GVL to 65 per cent after a total investment of €43.4m (C$60.6m), the group noted.

Meanwhile, Oppy has entered what Total Produce has described as 'strategically-important agreements' with New Zealand-based T&G Global, which will enable both organisations to enhance their market positions as co-shareholders in two US produce businesses.

Under the agreement, T&G Global will increase its shareholding in Oppy’s largest subsidiary, the US-focused marketer David Oppenheimer & Company (DOC) to 39.4 per cent from the 15 per cent it has held since 1997. Thereafter, its shareholding will match the effective share of DOC held by Total Produce.

Separately Oppy will acquire from T&G Global a 50 per cent share of T&G Global’s California headquartered US export business, T&G Global North America, which is known in the market as Delica North America (Delica NAM).

With 2016 sales of US$66m, Delica NAM is focused on exporting a wide range of fresh produce from the US predominantly to the important Chinese and south east Asian markets.

T&G Global’s branded apples and pears, in particular Jazz and Envy, are key products for both DOC and Delica NAM and have played an important role in what Total Produce described as the 'rapid growth' of Oppy.

As part of the agreements reached, Oppy will remain the primary long-term distributor of these products in North America, and Delica NAM for exports from North America.

The trio of companies now jointly operate in North and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe, and represent an even broader footprint through grower networks.

“We are very pleased to increase our shareholding in Oppy and for Oppy and Total Produce to strengthen ties with T&G Global,' said Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce. 'We look forward to continuing to work with John Anderson in Oppy, Alastair Hulbert in T&G and their teams in the coming years to further build on the success of Oppy and Delica North America.”

Alastair Hulbert, chief executive of T&G Global, noted: “T&G Global has enjoyed a strong and successful partnership with Oppy and its management team for many years and looks forward to working closer with the team and with Total Produce plc.”

“Our increased shareholding recognises the growing importance we place on the US market for our Jazz and Envy PVR apple brands and the vital role Oppy is playing in this success,' he added. 'Aligning our US export business T&G Global North America with the Oppy Group will enable T&G Global to present grower suppliers to both US and international customers and further strengthen its ability to service and support the needs of these US domestic and international customers.”

John Anderson, CEO and president of Oppy, said that his group was pleased to integrate even more deeply with Total Produce.

“T&G’s increased shareholding in Oppy facilitates growth in our apple category, as well as others, and gives us the opportunity to expand our export offerings,” said Anderson, who will continue to lead Oppy in his current role. “The combination of the three organisations will extend the benefits of shared expertise, products, and supply chain to our global customers. It will continue to be ‘business as usual’ for customers and growers interacting with Oppy, we’ll just have more to offer than ever before.”