France-based vegetables supplier Bonduelle has entered into exclusive negotiations with two Canadian institutional investors for the partial sale of its Bonduelle Americas Long Life (BALL) business.

Bonduelle is talking to Montreal-based Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Quebec’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) about a deal to sell 65% of the business for CAD850m (US$660.5m).

With revenues of CAD943m in Bonduelle’s 2020-2021 financial year, BALL manufactures canned and frozen vegetables in the US, Canada and Brazil for the retail and foodservice sectors. The business markets products under brands such as Arctic Gardens and Del Monte. It also supplies private-label.

However, the possible disposal centres on the assets in the US and Canada. It follows a review of the BALL business, announced in September 2021. Bonduelle said at the time that the unit did not fit its strategy and it would make a decision on its future within four months.

Speaking yesterday (24 May), the company said the proposed transaction would enable the group to “further pursue the deployment of its activities, in particular the development of its branded activities, in line with its strategic priorities and its ambition of sustainable growth with positive impact”.

Guillaume Debrosse, Bonduelle’s CEO, said: “The transaction with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and CDPQ would allow BALL to pursue its development in a North American market that is constantly consolidating and to finance its growth and profitability investments, without any new allocation of capital by the Bonduele Group.

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“As a minority shareholder, Bonduelle will ultimately benefit from 35% of the value created by this business.”

Dany Pelletier, executive vice-president, investments at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, said: “The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is proud to build this partnership to accomplish this structuring transaction for the Quebec agri-food sector.

“The transaction involving Bonduelle Americas Long Life, the Fonds and its partners will become one of the most significant in the Quebec food industry. It will allow the company to continue its North American expansion while maintaining a crucial headquarters here.”

Kim Thomassin, executive vice-president and head of Québec at CDPQ, said: “Alongside our partners, we look forward to pursuing Bonduelle Americas Long Life’s ambitions expansion plan to consolidate its position as a Canadian leader and further develop the US market.”