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Italy: Ambitious plans for Orsero Spa

The acquisition, in 2017, of 100% of the Fruttital and Hermanos Fernandez joint ventures; a transition into the Mta within the first months of 2018, and the development of new channels such as ready-to-eat, dried fruit and exotic products. This are the short and medium-term plans of Orsero Spa, the company created from the merger between GF Group (Fratelli Orsero) and Glenalta Food. 

The corporate objectives were discussed by Raffaella Orsero (in the photo), vice-president and CEO of the group, during the press conference held in Milan to illustrate the balance sheet for 2016. 

After the success of the Glenalta operation (the share value has gone up 50%), Orsero ended last year with €685 million net revenue (+10.9% than 2015), Ebitda adjusted by €35.2 million (+25.3%), a net result of €18.2 million (+36.2%) and €116.5 million net worth.

These figures were taken from the company's income statement approved by the board of directors and paint a rosy picture of the condition of the business.

Nowadays, the holding is part of the Aim segment (small and medium-sized businesses) but, "should Borsa feel that this year's balance sheet and the first six months of 2017 are enough, we should pass to the Mta in the first months of 2018." 

"We already meet various requirements. It would be interesting to become part of the Mta because of the increased opportunities. We will see whether it's possible."

As regards the distribution of dividends in 2018, financial director Matteo Colombini said "it will be considered but, for the moment, we are focusing on our growth."

Orsero is finally regaining the market share it lost in five countries in the Mediterranea area, where it is one of the leading fruit suppliers (550 thousand tons handled every years) and wants to grow by developing three business branches: the production of bananas in Costa Rica and avocados in Mexico, where it owns 4,500 hectares; the shipping and import with four large ships crossing the Atlantic and also carrying competitor produce; distribution, thanks to the dozens of platforms in Mediterranean Europe that make it possible to deliver produce seven days a week.

But who are Orsero's domestic and foreign competitors? "As regards production and imports, they are large companies such as Del Monte, Chiquita, Dole and Fyffes while, as regards distribution, we are talking about large domestic and regional players such as Battaglio, Spreafico and Univeg," explains President and CEO Paolo Prudenziati.

Bananas and pineapples form 51% of Orsero's turnover. 24% comes from produce from overseas and 14% from Italian produce. "In Italy, general fruit consumption grows by 1/2% every year, while that of exotic, dried, pre-cut and soft fruit reaches peaks of 20/30%. That's why we want to focus on these segments."

And Orsero has ambitious plans for the fresh-cut segment. "There's a small company in Tuscany which is developing this segment and we want to make it grow and maybe replicate it. We believe products that are easy to use are important to increase consumption. We are also looking for retailer partners that believe in this sales channel."

In addition to the acquisition of the Fruttital and Hermanos Fernandez joint ventures, for which no capital increases are expected, the company has a precise strategy: "we are looking around, both in Italy and abroad, and are considering acquiring specialised businesses in sectors we don't currently cover." For example, the company is currently analysing a French melon distribution business. "I can't name names but, if we were to acquire it, we would be the leaders in France for this fruit."

As regards the 2017 ad campaign, Orsero's ideas are clear. "We focused on pineapples to relaunch the company and results were excellent, so we will continue with this product."

Author: Alessandro Ferrari for FreshPlaza

Publication date: 4/18/2017


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