PSP Investments acquires 75% stake in Peru farming operation from Hortifruit
By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media
A wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), Canada’s largest pension fund manager with US$204.5 billion in AUM, has acquired a 75 percent stake in HFE Berries Perú SAC – owner of 100 percent of the Olmos field farming operation which has a planted area of 397 hectares.
The operation implies an equity value for 100 percent of HFE Berries Peru of US$117.3 million, indicating that this deal for a 75 percent stake is valued at approximately $90 million.
Hortifrut was founded in the VII region of Chile in 1983. In the years since, the company has grown to become the largest blueberry producer and marketer in the world, and the second largest company in the entire berry category.
This deal gives PSP Investments exposure to an industry in Peru poised for growth. In a relatively short period of time, Peru has become the top exporter of blueberries in the world, with the country shipping more than 150,000 tons at a value exceeding $1 billion – an incredible achievement considering the country shipped only 12,000 tons in the 2015/16 season.
Chile-based Hortifrut noted that this transaction aligns with the company’s growth strategy of forming associations and alliances with investors as strategic partners. Through these alliances, Hortifrut remains as managing partner and operator, leveraging its strength in agricultural management and scaling, its global commercialization capacity, and its genetic program to achieve growth.
“We are very excited about this new association with a strategic partner like PSP, whom we know very well,” said Juan Ingacio Allende, CEO, Hortifrut. “This is a relevant step in Hortifrut’s strategy to be able to supply the growing demand of our customers for our products.”
It was through this approach that Hortifrut acquired an original 50 percent stake in HFE Berries Peru SAC when it acquired 100 percent of the shares in Spain’s Atlantic Blue in December 2021.
Now, noted Hortifrut, through this sale, part of the value of the purchase of Atlantic Blue is captured in advance, while at the same time allowing for the control and marketing of the fruit produced.
“This operation is the beginning of a model that will allow us to scale our business through alliances with strategic partners in green field and brown field projects in which Hortifrut participates as investor, manager and operator,” said Allende.
“The model contemplates the use of our leading varieties in the market and the sale of fruit through our commercial platforms, maintaining our world leadership and balancing our investment portfolio between agricultural, commercialization, and genetics businesses.”