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Two Belgian cooperatives moving closer toward integration

Two Belgian cooperatives, BelOrta and BFV's, Boards of Directors have, in principle, agreed on how they will achieve the cooperation and integration announced in the spring.

A letter of intent was approved in late February. Following that, in recent months, work on further concretization was done under the supervision of a steering committee and the respective Boards of Directors. External legal, financial, fiscal, and HR experts guided the process. Various scenarios were extensively studied and analyzed. Ultimately, it was chosen to amalgamate activities under BelOrta.

BFV's expansive work in the most important production regions and market segments will, however, be maintained and respected. BFV's member growers can all help shape the project "to strengthen the cooperative fruit sector," the cooperatives say. "All BFV employees and its subsidiaries can, guaranteed, keep using their expertise to the integrated cooperative's service."

The goal is to be fully operational by, at the latest, July 1, 2023. This clear choice on how the integration will be shaped means notifying and consulting with the relevant competition authorities should result in this unique, future-oriented project being finally approved by then. There will also be intensive consultation with all other stakeholders, such as regional and local authorities, the banking sector, and the like, within the parameters of what is legally allowed.

"BelOrta and BFV are joining forces to become even more effective and cost-efficient. In these uncertain economic times, especially, this is an important, necessary step. The integration will benefit both our growers and customers (excellent service)," say Ludo Lousbergh (president BFV) and Dirk Bertels (president BelOrta).

Philippe Appeltans (Director BelOrta) and Marc Grauwels (General Manager BFV) add, "This allows us to strengthen our position as the leading provider of locally, sustainably grown fruit and vegetables. We supply those to the local and more than 70 export markets worldwide. With more than 1,400 active grower ambassadors across Belgium and in the border region in the Netherlands, we can give even better shape to our core philosophy: of, for, and by growers."

BelOrta has three operational locations and is a Belgian cooperative of, for and run by more than 950 local fruit and vegetable growers. Together, they annually provide an assortment of 170+ fruit, vegetable, and herb varieties  - always locally grown and flavorful. In 2021, BelOrta achieved record product sales of €497 million.

The Belgian Fruit Auction (BFV) also has three operational branches. It, too, is a Belgian grower-orientated cooperative with more than 470 members who provide an extensive, tasty range of locally grown top and soft fruit. In 2021, BFV realized a product turnover of €95 million.

Philippe Appeltans (Director)
Tel. : +32 (0) 155 65 230

Belgische Fruitveiling
Marc Grauwels (General Manager)
Tel. : +32 (0) 11 693 411

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