December 17, 2012

Total Produce and Oppenheimer Create Strategic Partnership

VANCOUVER, Canada & Dublin, Ireland —Two top global fresh produce companies are joining forces.

Total Produce plc of Dublin, Ireland has agreed to purchase a majority shareholding in the Vancouver, BC-based Oppenheimer Group in two stages over five years. The transaction will be initiated with the acquisition of 35 percent of the full service produce marketer’s shares in January, 2013. A further 30 percent will be acquired in 2017.

“We are delighted by the opportunity to enter this alliance with Total Produce,” said John Anderson, Oppenheimer’s chairman, president and CEO. “This partnership strengthens our ability to grow strategically to the benefit of our growers and customers while continuing to operate autonomously.”

The Oppenheimer Group is a leading North American fresh produce distribution and marketing company. It sources over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables from more than 25 countries and delivers them to retailers, wholesalers and foodservice operators across the U.S. and Canada — as well as export markets — through its comprehensive, integrated supply chain.

Anderson, who is currently Oppenheimer’s majority shareholder, will continue to lead the organization into the future and will still hold 35 percent of Oppenheimer’s shares after the 2017 transaction. The New Zealand-based apple marketer, ENZA, will maintain its 15 percent ownership of David Oppenheimer and Company, The Oppenheimer Group’s U.S. entity.

Anderson points to the opportunity to grow the company’s business well beyond North American boundaries as a primary reason for the alliance.

“Total Produce is one of the world’s most well-respected fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution organizations,” he said. “Our business models have exciting similarities which position both companies advantageously on a global scale. For Oppenheimer, this could mean an enhanced focus on exports, as well as new opportunities for our current grower family, and potential new alignments in the future.”

The acquisition continues the international expansion of Total Produce and represents an important entry into the North American market. 

Total Produce is now Europe’s largest fresh produce provider.  Operating out of 22 countries and with a 2011 turnover in excess of €2.5 billion, the group distributes more than 280 million cartons of fresh produce annually. It employs more than 4,000 people in over 100 locations across the continent.

Total Produce CEO Rory Byrne sees a natural fit between the two groups and commented that, “In Total Produce we are excited by the potential to develop and grow together and we look forward to benefiting from bringing together the vast experience of the exceptional teams across both our groups.”

Anderson said that the industry can expect the same high quality experience they have always had with Oppenheimer — essentially, it will be “business as usual.”

“While we’ll be exploring new opportunities in the background, the day-to-day interactions our customers and growers have with our team will not change,” he said. “We will remain the ‘Oppy’ that our friends in the industry know and enjoy doing business with. If anything, our expect the world from us promise will resonate even stronger, thanks to the new synergies we have with Total Produce.”


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