Merging company

AM FRESH Group will acquire IFG and merge it with SNFL,

News Highlights

  • This transaction brings together two highly complementary businesses with the potential to better meet the growing global demand for table grapes
  • The combination of IFG’s and SNFL’s gene pools and their research and development engines that have been developed over the past 20 years will position the combined business as an ideal platform to satisfy the needs of discerning growers in the field of crop yield and sustainability.
  • Uniting highly complementary transactions of different germplasm, including SNFL’s innovative platform of mainstream varieties with disease-resistant, high-antioxidant genetics with IFG’s customer focus and flavored varieties unique to the scale to deliver solutions and capabilities to producers, resulting in increased value for partners and consumers
  • The integration of these programs will enable a wide range of more sophisticated varieties with attractive traits and characteristics that will provide easier access to varietal diversity, as well as a better and cleaner food experience for consumers.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AM FRESH Group and Special New Fruit Licensing (SNFL) today announced a definitive agreement under which AM FRESH will acquire International Fruit Genetics (IFG) and merge it with SNFL, creating a combined company that significantly enhances the capabilities of SNFL and IFG to further develop their breeding capabilities and add to their innovative portfolio to meet unprecedented industry demand. AM FRESH will be the majority shareholder of the combined entity, with significant minority investment from EQT Future and ongoing investment from Paine Schwartz Partners.

The combined company will accelerate variety breeding, development and commercialization, benefiting licensed growers, partners and consumers with more sustainable alternatives and improved varietal options. Together, AM FRESH, SNFL and IFG will propel innovation at large, make production management easier for growers, and facilitate marketing to retail partners to bring innovative varieties to consumers year-round.

“We are committed to providing fresh, natural and healthy products to excite consumers and strive to create the next frontier of sustainable fresh foods for the benefit of all,” said Alvaro Muñoz, CEO of AM FRESH Group. “Together with IFG, we will spearhead varietal innovation and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of innovative varieties that are good for nature and good for health, for the benefit of growers, our retail partners and consumers. Thanks to our combination of R&D, innovation, agro-technological capabilities and high quality standards, we are able to offer new proposals to our partners and together take the table grape industry to the next level. .

“This transaction represents a significant step forward for the entire industry,” said Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG. “Since our inception, IFG’s mission, challenge and inspiration has been to grow our fruit categories, and this merger is another example. SNFL and IFG have complementary gene pools and breeding teams focused on different developmental pathways. While much of IFG’s focus has been on consumer characteristics and flavor, SNFL’s focus has been on health benefits, disease tolerance and other important characteristics. for producers. Together, AM FRESH Group, SNFL and IFG will provide more variety for consumers, more industry solutions for growers and an accelerated pace of innovation for the fruit breeding industry. This acquisition will showcase the best that our businesses have to offer as we build a dynamic foundation for the future.

“IFG set out 20 years ago to change an industry. This business combination is a ‘marriage of minds’ as AM FRESH Group and Sunridge Nurseries started out as small family businesses working to build something better in the fruit breeding industry,” said Higgins. “The kind of ‘start-up spirit’ that propelled these two companies to their current level of success continues to flourish, as does our mutual commitment to meeting the needs of our employees, licensees, partners and consumers.”

Retailers and consumers will also benefit from the sophistication and development of the table grape category. The combined efforts of the SNFL and the IFG aim to increase the supply and the possibilities of differentiation in breeding.

“By combining two breeding teams with deep and highly diverse experience in different areas of plant genetics, we will seek to propel varieties that will be better suited for the future and accelerate the development of more sustainable and healthier varieties aligned with the Marlet. trends,” said Josep Estiarte, CEO of SNFL Group. “Furthermore, the integration of two different talent pools developed over more than 15 years enables the implementation of best practices in the plant varietal development process.

“AM FRESH has made substantial progress expanding SNFL’s capabilities and offerings since our initial investment in 2019. This transaction is an important next step in the company’s evolution,” said Kevin Schwartz, Managing Director of Paine Schwartz. . “We continue to believe in the significant value creation opportunities that innovators like SNFL and IFG bring to the specialty products industry. We are confident that the combined SNFL and IFG platform will have the resources to provide sustainable and healthier offerings that will benefit growers, retailers and consumers. Looking ahead, we are excited to support the next generation of varietal innovations in grapes and cherries under the leadership of AM FRESH.

EQT Future invests in companies that transform industries, and SNFL and IFG are closely aligned with EQT Future’s “Planet” goal: conserving resources and the climate by improving agricultural productivity and minimizing the use of fungicides in grape production. EQT Future also plans to support investments in digitization and innovative breeding technologies, and support the combined and continued pursuit of R&D excellence by both companies.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Morrison & Foerster LLP was lead legal counsel for SNFL, while Allen & Overy and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP were attorneys for EQT Future, Pérez-Llorca and Bank of America advising AM FRESH. Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor and Dentons US LLP acted as legal advisor to IFG on the transaction.

About AM FRESH Group

AM FRESH Group is a global fresh food company focused on varietal innovation, agriscience and biotechnology, extensive farming and global commercialization of citrus fruits, table grapes, tropical superfoods and superfoods, d ‘plant foods, fruits and flowers on a large scale. With more than 90 years of expertise, AM FRESH Group is a private company, present in more than 60 countries with 6,200 employees passionate and committed to innovation, it operates as an end-to-end vertically integrated model to serve the best retailers around the world. To learn more about AM FRESH Group, please visit www.amfresh.com.

About SNFL Group

The SNFL Group (Special New Fruit Licensing) is a table grape R&D company. For more than 25 years, we have been selecting and developing new varieties of table grapes and licensing their production all over the world. Our innovation center is at the cutting edge of technology and our multidisciplinary team is made up of geneticists, molecular biologists, agronomists and technologists of the highest caliber. SNFL is present in 18 countries around the world and we offer innovations in consumer, flavored, disease-resistant and antioxidant-rich table grape varieties. SNFL is committed to leading grape innovation for a healthier future. To learn more about SNFL, please visit www.snflgroup.com.

About IFG

Based in Bakersfield, California, USA, IFG is a premium fruit breeding company. Founded in 2001, the company is internationally recognized for its premium non-GMO fruit varieties in the table grape, cherry and raisin industries which were pioneered by the company’s co-founder and former breeder of chief plants, world renowned scientist, Dr. David Cain. Since the retirement of Dr Cain, the team is now led by Dr Chris Owens. IFG patents and licenses its varieties to distributors and growers worldwide, with licensees in 15 countries. For more information, visit www.ifg.world.

About the EQT

EQT is a global, goal-oriented investment organization with €73.4 billion in assets under management across 28 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas with total sales of approximately €29 billion and over 175,000 employees. EQT works with its portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership. More information: www.eqtgroup.com. Follow EQT on LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube and instagram.

About Paine Schwartz Partners

A global leader in sustainable food chain investing, Paine Schwartz Partners is a private equity firm focused exclusively on investment opportunities in the dynamic and fast-growing global food and agribusiness sectors. . The firm’s investment, operations and finance professionals invest across cycles of the food and agribusiness value chain, and bring a collaborative and active management approach to portfolio companies. For more information, please see www.paineschwartz.com.

contacts

AM FRESH Group & SNFL Group: [email protected], Patricia Sagarminaga +34 669161941

IFG: [email protected], Tamara Baker +1 661 345 7580

EQT press department: [email protected] +46 8 506 55 334

Paine Schwartz partners: Andy Brimmer / Aaron Palash. Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, +1 212 355 4449

Photos accompanying this ad are available at

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/d7f3d4bc-f9ec-4406-a430-a0079f44fa09

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/63d4f2cd-58ad-427e-bda8-317b780f4072

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/82f0b317-1b6b-4a3e-bd9d-028d20cacb50

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9b9077fb-7ae0-43fa-98c3-41062c8aab86