Oct 29, 2012
Hortifrut, VBM to merge

Hortifrut S.A., one of the partner/owners of Naturipe Farms LLC and the leading berry grower/exporter in Chile and South America, and Vital Berry Marketing (VBM) S.A., the second largest berry grower/exporter, have announced a merger agreement.

“Vital Berry and Hortifrut are grower-based companies; we share many similarities including the geographic production base, proprietary and improved varieties, a commitment to premium quality, food safety standards and premium service to our clients in North America, EU and Asia markets,” said Victor Moller, chairman of the board, Hortifrut S.A. “We also have a deep respect for the Vital Berry management team, the staff and their growers.”

Andrés Solari, chairman of the board for Vital Berry Marketing S.A., said “We are delighted with the opportunity of joining Hortifrut and be part of Naturipe Farms sales and marketing organizations. We firmly believe they have the strategic focus and vision, the proper infrastructure and commitment to excellence to provide long term success of our production base.

“This merger will allow the combined companies to achieve new and better growth opportunities, improve our economies of scale and competitiveness in our key U.S. and international berry markets.”

Dwight Ferguson, CEO, Naturipe Farms, said “The combination of the two leading berry growing organizations in South America will increase Naturipe’s blueberry volume from October through April. The additional blueberries fill the demands from our growing client base during the seasonal ‘shoulders,’ or transition periods when demand often outpaces supply.”

“There will be a transition period as we incorporate VBM into the Naturipe’s branded line of products” said Jim Roberts, vice president of sales. “More importantly, our objective is to ensure our customers receive the same high-quality fruit and service they have come to expect from both organizations. Having this expanded, grower-owned production base will allows Naturipe farms to build the strategic partnership programs with our customers and growers.”

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