Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has acquired a majority stake in Australia-based potato and onion supplier Mitolo Family Farms.
The transaction, which does not include Mitolo Wines, is expected to be finalised by 30 June. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The business will continue to operate under the Mitolo Family Farms brand. Managing director Frank Mitolo and senior executives John and Darren Mitolo will remain with the company. The Mitolo family is retaining a “significant ownership stake” in the business.
“We are excited to partner with the Mitolo Family Farms to grow the company’s ambitions and further increase the quality and reliability that has made it a category leader in Australia over the past 50 years,” Christopher Metrakos, senior managing director for natural resources at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said.
South Australia-headquartered Mitolo Family Farms is a producer of fresh potatoes and onions, supplying Australian supermarkets and wholesalers.
“The next steps in our growth trajectory will require additional capital to enter into new markets and pursue strategies that will help us profitably respond to emerging trends in agriculture and food manufacturing,” Frank Mitolo said.
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“The family realised that the additional capital would require partnering with the right investor who understands the cyclical and long-term nature of agriculture, and we believe Ontario Teachers’ is the ideal partner with which to take the business forward.”
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan invests in more than 50 countries to deliver retirement income for approximately 336,000 working members and pensioners. The fund’s other investments in agri-food include Australian businesses Aroona Farms, which produces almonds; avocado supplier Jasper Farms; and Pomona Valley, which grows apples and stone fruit. The assets are managed by AustOn, the Australian agriculture arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Metrakos added: “Ontario Teachers’ and AustOn have a proven track record in investing in the farming sector both in Australia and worldwide, and we are focused on using this experience to deliver long-term, sustainable growth with Mitolo Family Farms.”