Unifrutti Group in Abu Dhabi has acquired Sociedad Exportadora Verfrut, a Chile-based fruit supplier and exporter.

Verfrut is a “prominent fresh produce player with a presence in Chile and Peru, where it operates over 7,500 hectares of fully integrated farming and processing facilities”, according to a statement from Unifrutti.

Set up in 1996, Verfrut produces grapes, cherries, apples and blueberries. The company has a distribution network stretching from South America to the US and China.

Mohamed Elsarky, who joined Unifrutti as CEO last year, said: “Our acquisition of Verfrut is a strategic milestone, propelling Unifrutti’s growth and reinforcing our commitment to excellence and innovation.

“This expansion not only enhances our current operations but also paves the way for future growth as we aim to become the pre-eminent and most sustainably driven global multi-fruit company, setting new standards in the industry.”

Unifrutti, which is majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi government investment fund ADQ, will retain Verfrut’s management team and production operations post-transaction, which has been struck for an undisclosed sum.

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Romano Vercellino, the founder and president of Verfrut, said: “We are making an excellent decision with this transaction. After many years of hard work together with our great team, we are confident that Unifrutti will maintain our values that have guided us since the establishment of Verfrut.”

Based in Santiago, Verfrut also grows and supplies stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, apricots and avocados cultivated across Chile.

Unifrutti, founded in 1948, is present in some of the same fruit varieties as Verfrut but also supplies citrus fruits, bananas and pears. The company operates more than 14,000 hectares of land across Latin America, South Africa, Europe and the Asia Pacific, employing around 11,000 staff.

ADQ purchased a majority stake in the business in March 2022. Some of the investment fund’s other agri-food interests include the Louis Dreyfus Company, fresh produce business Silal in Abu Dhabi and the food and beverage company Agthia Group.

Unifrutti posted a 2% increase in turnover to $720m in 2021. EBITDA totalled $78m, with a gross profit margin of 17% and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 11%.