Spanish fresh berry supplier Planasa has been sold to German family-owned holding EW Group for an undisclosed fee.

After Just Food revealed in June that Cinven, the UK-headquartered private-equity firm, was going ahead with its sale, Planasa is now under new ownership.

Planasa CEO Michael Brinkmann said: “The Planasa management team is delighted to become part of the EW Group. To be associated with an esteemed long-term-oriented family group that has an outstanding track record of developing leaders in the global genetics space, through strong investment in R&D, is excellent news for Planasa’s customers, partners and employees.”

He added: “Please let me also use this opportunity to express my gratitude to our current shareholders, Cinven and Blue Label Capital, for their unwavering trust and support over the past years. It is thanks to their financial backing and strategic perspective that Planasa has developed into the leading position it holds today.”

Cinven acquired the berry business in 2017 for a deal worth €450m (then $523m) and stated at the time that berries represented an attractive growth category given the growing interest among consumers in the link between diet and health.

Thilo Sautter, partner at Cinven, said: “Cinven has successfully driven strong growth at Planasa by investing in the core business, expanding globally, significantly growing R&D and attracting a first-class management team. We have worked with management to transform Planasa from a founder-led business to a leading global agri-tech operator.”

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EW Group is typically more involved with livestock breeding and this deal allows it to venture toward plant breeding.

Dirk Wesjohann, son of EW Group CEO Erich Wesjohann, stated: “The acquisition of Planasa will be a milestone for our family group, as it allows us to strategically expand our breeding activities into the area of plant breeding. EW Group has been looking for such an opportunity for years.

“We are convinced that Planasa, with its leading innovative genetic varieties, its highly qualified and dedicated management team and its unique global footprint is the ideal platform for EW Group’s expansion into fruit and vegetable breeding.”

Planasa supplies fresh produce to retailers around the world, as well as seeds and plants to farmers. The company employs circa 4,000 people in 25 countries and supplies customers globally from production facilities across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia. Planasa also offers garlic, endive and avocado.