Belgium’s Ghent Integra Fund has invested €5 million in Spanish citrus and stone fruit giant Citri & Co. It is to be used by the latter to further expand its presence as a market leader across the EU.
This investment is being deployed parallel to Spain’s Miura Private Equity’s launch earlier this month of the €350 million Frutas. As the largest agribusiness fund in the EU, Frutas will operate with a targeted purpose as an investment vehicle to support Citri & Co, a leading group in the production and marketing of citrus fruit formed in 2017 by Miura through investments in three companies: Martinavarro, Rio Tinto, and Perales & Ferrer.
At the same time as the launch of Frutas, it was also announced that Citri & Co had acquired an undisclosed stake in Frutas Esther, one of the leading European companies in the production and marketing of stone fruits, including peaches, nectarines, apricots, as well as seedless grapes, and strawberries.
The founding families of all four companies – Martinavarro, Rio Tinto, Perales & Ferrer, and Frutas Esther – will be shareholders in the new platform, which now stands as one of the largest vertically integrated fruit platform in the world, controlling 11 packaging plants, and an annual turnover of nearly €500 million.
“The new stage that opens in Citri & Co with the alliance with Frutas Esther is exciting to create one of the largest vertically integrated fruit groups in the world with about €500 million turnover, and with a European leadership in the citrus and stone fruit sector, the two categories in which Spain leads exports worldwide,” said Jordi Alegre, a partner in Miura at the time.
Established just last year, Integra has a mixed local and international mandate to invest between €1 and €15 million in Belgian SMEs, but also to co-invest a minimum of €5 million or more, alongside larger, international buy-out and growth funds, to offer investors the ideal balance of diversification and scalability.