The agreement between Oranfrizer and Unifrutti Group was signed on October 28th, marking a major step in the global fresh fruit market and Italian agricultural production from an international perspective.
On the one hand Oranfrizer, the group of companies of the Alba family that today represents the largest Sicilian orange supply chain, consisting of Oranfrizer Ltd, the spin-off Oranfrizer Juice Ltd and the Carmito farm which has 160 hectares of citrus groves. In turn, Carmito adheres to the PO Terre e Sole di Sicilia, with 148 producers and about 1,400 hectares, almost completely converted with new combinations of graft / rootstock to overcome the Tristeza virus and redevelop production, aiming, in particular, on new Tarocco orange cultivars.
Having acquired a solid presence in the Italian market for almost 60 years, in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, Oranfrizer has an expected turnover of over 50 million euros for 2020 (to which must be added the result achieved by Oranfrizer Juice, equal to approximately 5 million euros, generated by the sale in Italy and abroad of NFC juices made from citrus and other fruits) with an organization able to pursue a further growing.
On the other hand: Unifrutti Group, one of the leading global players in the fresh fruit market vertically integrated in production, marketing and distribution, with 93 farms of which 59 are owned. The Group oversees the entire value chain and thanks to the direct ownership of the land, located in the different climatic areas of the world, is able to serve more than 50 countries. Throughout the year Unifrutti sells approximately 550,000 tons of fresh fruit to over 500 customers.
Unifrutti Group has a consolidated turnover of almost 700 million euros and produces directly on its own farms, with a total area of 14,000 hectares mainly located in Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Philippines, South Africa and Italy. The target countries for export, in addition to the many in Europe (including Italy) are Japan, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and many others. The distribution services are supported by numerous fruit packaging plants as well as different locations, active in Japan, Italy, Turkey, the Middle East, China and India.
The integration of Oranfrizer in the Unifrutti Group will allow Sicilian citrus productions to expand their range of action, using Unifrutti's worldwide network and support growth within the territory.
For Unifrutti, the acquisition is an opportunity to expand its product portfolio, including new highly distinctive orange cultivars: the blood oranges that originate in the Plain of Catania, the most suitable place in the world for the cultivation of pigmented oranges. Therefore, the Group reinforces its role in the citrus fruit market and lays the foundations for becoming one of the first providers in the Italian market, strengthening its presence in the international market as well both in large scale retail and in the catering world.
The agreement, strongly sought by the CEO of Unifrutti Group, Marco Venturelli, has just been concluded and will be immediately operational. Nello Alba maintains its role of CEO in Oranfrizer, ensuring continuity in the virtuous management by the family and a close link with the territory, which is a key point of the agreement.
Marco Venturelli, Chief Executive Officer of Unifrutti Group, said: “Oranfrizer represents an important step in our continued growth and adds an internationally recognized asset to our portfolio. This transaction is a key component of our global buy-and-build strategy through which we plan to seize additional attractive opportunities to grow and increase profitability, as well as create value for all stakeholders.
To that end, we are pleased to strengthen our partnership with The Carlyle Group, an investor that has supported our Group since 2019 and shares our strategy and growth ambitions.
Unifrutti Group sees opportunity to consolidate our global leadership position in the high-quality fresh fruit sector and we are continuing to develop our presence in most international markets with a focus on rapidly expanding markets in Europe, China and Japan.”"
Sebastiano Alba, CEO of Oranfrizer, said: "Our family is honored to join the Unifrutti Group, one of the major international players in the global fruit and vegetable market. Unifrutti and Oranfrizer share the common goal of overseeing the segment of quality production, processes and products, with particular attention to the issues of environmental sustainability.
Thanks to this agreement, our blood orange, already one of the most recognized excellences of Italian fruit production, will be able to more easily reach new destinations and strengthen its presence in the countries where it has already been introduced. To grow abroad, and in Italy of course, we will strengthen our entire production chain.
About 60 years ago Oranfrizer started to enhance the citrus fruits of Sicily and other fruits grown in suitable areas of our island. Now the work continues”