US avocado marketer Calavo has said it is to buy Anaheim-based produce distributor Maui Fresh International for US$4.5m in stock.

Calavo said it expects the transaction, which is the first acquisition by Calavo since it changed from a growers’ cooperative to a public company last year, to be completed in early November.

Maui Fresh, which posted sales of around $20m last year, is to be operated as a subsidiary of Calavo. Maui Fresh sells tropical and exotic fruits and hothouse-grown produce, as well as more conventional fruits and vegetables.

Calavo chief executive Lee Cole said the acquisition was the first step towards Calavo becoming a diversified produce distributor, reported the Los Angeles Times.