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Fresh Produce

Consortium Comprising Driscoll’s Acquires Australia's Costa Group

By Dayeeta Das
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Consortium Comprising Driscoll’s Acquires Australia's Costa Group

A consortium, led by Paine Schwartz Partners and comprising Driscoll’s and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, has completed the acquisition of Costa Group.

Costa Group is one of the leading growers, packers and marketers of fresh fruit and vegetables in Australia.

As part of the transaction, Driscoll’s and Costa will be working on specific projects to expand the global berry business.

“We welcome the Costa Group into the Driscoll’s family and look forward to deepening our relationship with even more deliberate collaboration across the globe,” said Soren Bjorn, CEO of Driscoll’s.

“This is one of the largest equity investments Driscoll’s has ever made, which speaks to the formidable partnership and considerable value we see in the Costa portfolio and the company’s long-term future and growth prospects.”

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The Partnership

The two companies have been collaborating since 2010 and the latest 'ownership arrangement' is part of a logical progression of the relationship between the companies, according to Driscoll’s.

Costa Group and Driscoll’s equally own a joint venture in Australia, which is now among the leading marketers of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries in the country.

Driscoll’s has also implemented an expansion programme in the Americas using Costa blueberry varieties.

In 2016, Driscoll’s and Costa formalised a joint venture that oversaw the two companies starting a berry production company in China.

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Their existing arrangements in China, Australia and the Americas will also continue unaffected, Driscoll’s noted.

The Consortium

Over the past few decades, Paine Schwartz Partners has invested $5.7 billion (€5.3 billion) in agriculture and the food supply chain, including a prior equity stake in Costa.

Other investments include companies that grow premium fresh produce, such as Monterey Mushrooms, as well as ag-tech companies, including AgroFresh.

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation is a global institutional investor, with $233 billion (€214.7 billion) in gross assets under management.

Its investment in agricultural assets includes an ownership stake in Viterra and mushroom and citrus businesses.

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