US multinational refines details to acquire Chilean exporter Giddings Fruit

The producer of berries and cherries would be Frutura's second purchase on national soil. In 2022, the Californian took over Subsole, the largest exporter of table grapes in Chile. Source: Diario Financiero, June 22, 2023.

Foreign capital will continue to increase its presence in Chile. The California-based American, Frutura, would be about to close the purchase of the Chilean producer, packer and exporter Giddings Fruit.

Knowers of the negotiations point out to Diario Financiero that although the final agreement has not been closed, a first contract would have been signed and the amount of the transaction would be between US$240 million and US$260 million.

This is not the first purchase of Frutura in national territory. Last year, the same company acquired Subsole, another of the country's large fruit companies. which, according to the North American on its institutional website, is the largest exporter of table grapes in the country, in addition to growing other products such as citrus, kiwi, avocados, cherries and pomegranates.

The Giddings group, for its part, grows and exports mainly berries and cherries and also develops its own genetic varieties. It has plantations in Chile, Mexico and Peru and offices in the US, England and China, from which it supplies its markets around the world.

What is Fruit?

The American company with a growing presence in Chile defines itself as "a global sales and marketing network committed to supplying top quality fruit to international customers, 365 days a year."

Frutura is a subsidiary of the Renewable Resources Group (RRG) fund, which is dedicated to "identifying underused assets and optimizing them" in areas such as renewable energy, water resources and agriculture. “Since its founding, RRG has focused on generating environmental and social benefits, as well as financial returns,” the fund writes on its Linkedin profile.

Under this umbrella, in 2021, Frutura was formed. And since then, the company has dedicated itself to growing its sales network through various acquisitions in the Americas.

In their first year of operations, they acquired the American companies Dayka & Hackett and TerraFresh Organics, as well as the Peruvian Agrícola Don Ricardo. And in 2022, they expanded their presence in Latin America. In addition to the Chilean Subsole, they acquired a Uruguayan citrus producer that was renamed Frutura Uruguay.

After all the purchases, the different fruit growers have remained managed by their local teams. For example, In the case of Subsole, the Chilean continued with Juan Colombo as CEO.

At the time of acquiring that company, David Krause, CEO of Frutura, stated in a press release: "Having a strong presence in Chile is an integral part of our growth strategy, which is why we are delighted that Subsole is now part of our briefcase".

Likewise, in an interview with the specialized media RedAgrícola, Krause pointed out that they felt good about investing in Latin America. “We understand that there is risk and we are perfectly comfortable with it,” he said.

Giddings Fruit

The new acquisition that Frutura is plotting on national soil bears the name of its founder, Julio Giddings, who started growing raspberries and blueberries in 1993.

A decade later, in 2002, the company opened its subsidiary Giddings México, until today in charge of Patricio Cortés.

The company's subsequent history was one of steady growth. According to its website, in 2008 it began in the genetic business with its own program and, in the same area, it acquired the Mexican Black Venture Farms in 2011.

The following year, it would begin with its entry into the market that today leads the fruit industry in Chile: cherries. Giddings allied with the exporter Cerasus Chile and, sooner rather than later, ended up with 100% ownership of that company..

Then, the Chilean continued with its internationalization. In 2016, it started its operations in Peru and, in 2017, it opened an office in London, sealing its entry into Europe. That year, in fact, the company took the name of Giddings Fruit, which it maintains to this day.

The timeline that narrates the history of the company on its official site explains that in 2019 the company kicked off a process of borrowing to further accelerate its growth. In 2020, it would finally open its office in the US, in the city of Monterey, in California.

The growing foreign interest in fruit producers

In recent years, Chilean fruit companies have been of great interest to foreign funds of different nationalities, which have opted for local companies for their global expansion plans.

This year, for example, the Canadian pension fund PSP Investments achieved more than 49% ownership of Hortifrut, the world's largest blueberry producer, founded by Víctor Moller. PSP had only 4,88% of the company and launched a Public Offering for the Acquisition of Shares (OPA) to increase its presence in the company.

In addition to Subsole, there have been other acquisitions as well.

Another example is that of Unifrutti, whose purchase by Urusbid -a company based in Abu Dhabi- was approved by the National Economic Prosecutor's Office (FNE) in 2022.

And at the beginning of 2021, the family office of Teresa Solari sold a majority percentage of the exporter David del Curto to Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), another American multinational, but based in Boston.

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