Spanish fruit growers and suppliers Grupo Clasol and Cooperativa San Alfonso in Valencia have merged.

The business combination of the two cooperatives reportedly creates an anticipated €120m ($127.7m) revenue business for the 2023/24 financial year with more than 2,000 employees, according to the local Levante el Mercantil Valenciano publication.

Grupo Clasol, which like San Alfonso is based in the province of Castelló, supplies a range of fresh citrus fruits, melons and grapes, along with stone fruits such as plums and peaches.

San Alfonso is primarily engaged in the citrus segment like oranges and clementines with brands such as its namesake line, Gala and Maxim.

Four cultivation and distribution plants across the Mediterranean will be brought together through the merger covering 2,500 hectares of land, with more than 30 countries served.

Neither company responded to Just Food’s request for an official statement, although Grupo Clasol acknowledged the tie-up on LinkedIn.

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Emilio Balaguer, the president of San Alfonso, was quoted as saying by Levante el Mercantil that “cooperatives remain in no man’s land and must continue to reinvent themselves”.

He added: “This integration will allow us to face the challenges we face: increasing volumes of our own fruit, varietal reconversion and investment in warehouse modernisation.”

César Claramonte, meanwhile, the CEO of Grupo Clasol, said the merger forms an ‘ambitious’ five-year plan that will involve investment in processing and competitively priced fruit.

“We are creating a pioneering and independent business model to defend the interests of small local farmers,” Claramonte was reported as saying. “Our aim is to be a reference platform for the integration of a project managed by farmers.”

The merger comes alongside a raft of deals in the fresh fruit sector in September.

South African fruit producer Capesan has a new owner in the form of an investment vehicle backed by local agriculture fund Agrarius Agri Value Chain RF Proprietary.

Peru’s Viru Group acquired US frozen fruit and vegetable peer Superior Foods International, while fresh berry supplier Planasa in Spain was bought by the German family-owned holding company EW Group.

Also in Peru, Grupo Hame snapped up fruit and vegetable grower Agrokasa.