Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ocean Spray acquires cranberry operations in Chile

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., a grower-owned agricultural cooperative based in Lakeville-Middleboro, MA, has acquired the cranberry processing business of Agrícola Cran Chile Limitada, based in Lanco, Región de los Ríos, Chile.

The acquisition will expand Ocean Spray's multinational footprint and give it a sizable presence in an important cranberry-growing region. Cran Chile will retain its world-class cranberry-growing operation and its raspberry and blueberry juice concentrate business.

"Ocean Spray is proud to welcome Cran Chile employees into our family," Randy Papadellis, president and chief executive officer of Ocean Spray, said in a press release. "Cran Chile's reputation for quality and excellence in cranberry processing is a good strategic fit and will better help the cooperative accelerate the growing global demand for dried cranberries, the fastest-growing product in Ocean Spray's portfolio."
While this marks Ocean Spray's first international acquisition, the reach of the "Ocean Spray" brand goes far beyond the United States. The cooperative's cranberries are currently featured in more than 1,000 products in over 50 countries worldwide.

"This acquisition will enable us to better compete in the global dried fruit market and provide long-term benefits in returns for our grower owners," Mr. Papadellis added in the press release. "It also represents a new frontier for our cooperative that will diversify our fruit supply with a counter-seasonal supply of cranberries from Chile, enable us to distribute dried cranberries from a strategic South American location to new and existing international markets, and increase our capacity to produce dried cranberries by 12 million pounds annually."

As part of the agreement, Ocean Spray has purchased all land and assets related to receiving, storage, processing and distribution of dried cranberries. All of the approximately 100 Cran Chile plant employees will become Ocean Spray employees.

Cran Chile is also one of the world's largest cranberry growing operations and has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Ocean Spray cooperative. Cran Chile will continue to process raspberries and blueberries at the Lanco facility subject to a long-term processing agreement with Ocean Spray.

"The employees of the Cran Chile facility and Ocean Spray share a culture of excellence in quality and service as well as a vision for growing the demand for cranberries in new markets," Gordon Swanson, managing partner of Cran Chile, added in the press release. "The opportunity represents an exceptional strategic fit for two industry leaders. In addition to becoming a major supplier of cranberries to Ocean Spray, we look forward to becoming a major member of the cooperative."

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