US: Gebbers Farms and Chelan Fruit Buy 50% of Chilean Companies

Washington State fruit producers Gebbers Farms and Chelan Fruit Cooperative have jointly entered a venture to purchase a fifty percent stake in four closely associated fruit producers in Angol, Chile: Inversiones Agrícolas Buenos Aires S.A., El Almendro S.A., Fundo El Encanto S.A., and Frutícola Angol S.A. The four Chilean companies are currently owned by Toronto Trust, Andrés Lyon L., Francisco Prat A. and the Prat Alemparte Family. The four Chilean entities will be rolled into one new company to be named Chilean South Apples, or "CHISA."

Today the CHISA companies combined comprise 1700 acres of apple and cherry orchards, many of which are still young, as well as packing, nursery and sales operations. CHISA will directly export about 1.2 million cartons of tree fruit to markets in Asia, the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Latin America.

The U.S. and Chilean companies participating in CHISA have maintained a trade relationship for many years before entering the new venture. Reggie Collins, CEO of Chelan Fruit Cooperative says of the relationship, "over the years we have developed close bonds with our partners in Chile, as like us, they emphasize growing the highest quality apples and the best varieties, and are known as being fine growers with an innovative nursery." “The partnership began several years ago when we sold some of their fruit, and has deepened as we have continued to work closely together sharing knowledge; some of our staff have spent several months in Angol, Chile,” adds Collins.

Collins says the goal of the venture is to offer a year-round supply of high quality apple varieties to worldwide customers and to continue expanding CHISA’s operations. Chile's southern hemisphere location harvests fruit six months offset from Washington State, allowing the CHISA partners to supply cherries to the northern hemisphere in December, and to supply some varieties of apples during months when they are least available from U.S. orchards.

The CHISA partners have developed a $USD 30 million business plan that defines a series of development projects in Chile, including extensive plantings of new apple varieties, new plantings of cherries, expanding packing and cold storage operations in Chile, orchard renovation, and the commercial development of new protected apple varieties through CHISA's nursery operation.

Francisco Prat, longtime manager of the Chilean operations, will become general manager of CHISA, and Dan Tarbert of Gebbers Farms will be chief financial officer. A four-member board of directors, composed of Reggie Collins, Cass Gebbers, Daniel Orezzolli Bozzalla, and Andrés Lyon, will oversee CHISA operations.

Chelan Fruit Cooperative is a major packer of apples, pears and cherries located in Chelan, WA, USA and is owned by 270 grower-members.

Gebbers Farms is a large family-owned producer of apples, pears and cherries centered in Brewster, WA, USA.

Chelan Fruit Cooperative and Gebbers Farms jointly market their fruit through Chelan Fresh Marketing of Chelan, WA using the Trout, Chelan Fresh and Danny Boy labels, among others. Chelan Fresh Marketing supplies about 15 million cartons of apples, pears and cherries to markets worldwide.

Contact:
Welcome Sauer
Email:welcomes@gebbersfarms.com

or

Reggie Collins
Tel: 509-682-2591
Email: ReggieC@chelanfruit.com

Publication date:



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