Hortifrut - the merger greatly increases its blueberry production capacity.

Hortifrut - the merger greatly increases its blueberry production capacity.

Chile-headquartered fruit producer Hortifrut has signed a merger agreement with Peruvian agricultural development company Talsa.

The deal sees Hortifrut pay US$160m to effectively take over Talsa, which will receive 17.13% of shares in the merged company, along with performance-related awards.

It will result in Hortifrut incorporating 1,450 hectares of blueberry fields and two packhousess into its Peruvian operations.

Hortifrut president Víctor Moller said: "Thanks to this agreement, Hortifrut consolidates is leadership further as a global platform by merging one of the main growers, exporters and distributors of blueberries in the Southern Hemisphere.

"This investment fills us with pride as it allows Hortifrut and its partners around the world across the value chain to obtain a unique position in the berry industry by having first grade production and facilities in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and now an even stronger presence in Peru." 

The new land, adding to Hortifrut's existing 350 hectares in Trujillo and 400 hectares together with partner Atlantic Blue in Olmos, brings its total production area in Peru up to 2,200 hectares.

Through the deal Hortifrut expects to export 45,000 metric tons of blueberries annually from Peru, which could rise to 100,000 metric tons it is suggested.

The two companies have worked together for four years through the entity Hortifrut-Tal, which produces and trades berries.