Univeg is exploring the possibility of a partnership with Veiling Haspengouw.

Univeg is exploring the possibility of a partnership with Veiling Haspengouw.

Belgium-based produce group Univeg is looking to invest in parts of local fruit and veg co-operative Veiling Haspengouw.

The companies have signed a letter of intent that proposes Univeg will take a stake in two of Veiling's subsidiaries. It is has agreed to buy 51% of H-Fruit – the marketing division of Veiling – and 50% of pear packer H-Ppack.

Any deal is still subject to due diligence, the approval of anti-trust authorities and the green light from the national GMO authority.

The advantage to Veiling, which will continue as a co-operative, is access to a broader distribution channel, the companies said.

"As a worldwide supplier, and service and distribution company, Univeg is a key player in the imports from Europe and overseas", said Francis Kint, CEO of Univeg. "Today, our main target is to put our competencies at the service of the local produce, both in the domestic and export markets. A close cooperation with a producer organisation is innovative, but also makes good sense. Taking this step forward with Veiling Haspengouw is the culmination of many years of collaboration."

Luc Bels, chairman of Veiling Haspengouw, said the deal "will create a win-win-win situation for the growers, personnel and H-Fruit alike".

Univeg itself is set to become part of a larger organisation. Earlier this month, the company, frozen and canned food group Greenyard Foods and agribusiness Peatinvest announced they had reached a final agreement on their plans to merge.

Show the press release

The Board of Directors of Veiling Haspengouw and UNIVEG today announced during a press conference that they are investigating a close commercial cooperation. In this regard, a Letter of Intent was signed to confirm that UNIVEG will take a stake in two subsidiaries of Veiling Haspengouw, H-Fruit and H-Ppack. AIF, the investment fund of Boerenbond, will support the project with a subordinated loan. The finalisation is subject to the completion of the Due Diligence process and to the approval of the anti-trust bodies and of the National GMO authority. In the proposed structure, Veiling Haspengouw will continue as cooperative. It will be reinforced by a broader distribution channel, in a structure that guarantees a correct return to the growers.

Towards the global market

“Ever since the first talks between Veiling Haspengouw, UNIVEG and Boerenbond it was clear that there was an eagerness to write a new chapter for the company, namely to bring our fruit to the world market”, says Luc Bels, Chairman of Veiling Haspengouw. “In doing so, we will create a win-win-win situation for the growers, personnel and H-Fruit alike.”
The operation of Veiling Haspengouw and H-Fruit will remain unchanged: H-Fruit will continue to serve its existing customers, but will also get access to UNIVEG’s broad commercial network. This cooperation will offer to both parties a stronger competitive position.

Innovation and common sense

According to Hein Deprez, Chairman of UNIVEG, this cooperation perfectly matches the two basic principles on which UNIVEG was built: on the one hand the creation and organisation of an integrated supply chain that links the supply to the market demand; and on the other hand the bundling of different product flows through our efficient platforms tailored to our customers.

“As a worldwide supplier, and service and distribution company, UNIVEG is a key player in the imports from Europe and Overseas”, says Francis Kint, CEO of UNIVEG. “Today, our main target is to put our competences at the service of the local produce, both in the domestic and export markets. A close cooperation with a Producer Organisation is innovative, but also makes good sense. Taking this step forward with Veiling Haspengouw is the culmination of many years of collaboration.”

Strategic reorientation

Piet Vanthemsche, Chairman of Boerenbond, confirms that AIF is a logical partner in this story. “We support every collaboration that strengthens the position of a Belgian producer and that paves the way to a market-driven production, preferably from a cooperative perspective. The creation of this platform can contribute to the variety in distribution channels. The platform is open to other Producer Organisations that may want to join us.”

“The proposed cooperation is part of a larger strategic reorientation”, explains Marijke Vanderstukken, CEO of Veiling Haspengouw. “This reorientation consists of three pillars: a more efficient operation, an improved service and a reinforcement of his commercial power. It provides a positive response to the changing market conditions and prepares growers and personnel for the future. ”

About Veiling Haspengouw: Fruit auction Haspengouw is a cooperative of growers producing high-quality hard and soft fruits. The excellent fruit quality is the result of many years of professional expertise, scientific research, environment friendly growing and innovation. Veiling Haspengouw has evolved from a regional auction to an internationally valued partner. It counts approximately 400 members and has about 127 employees.

www.veilinghaspengouw.be

About AIF: Agri Investment Fund CVBA is the investment fund of Groep Boerenbond (MRBB). AIF allocates its participations over the relevant distribution channels for agricultural products and promising innovative developments that strengthen the position of growers and their cooperatives.

Original source: http://www.univeg.com/en/media/press_releases/veiling_haspengouw_and_univeg_investigate_a_commercial_cooperation/