UPDATED: Sun World acquired by Renewable Resources Group - The Packer

UPDATED: Sun World acquired by Renewable Resources Group

08/12/2013 11:30:00 AM
Mike Hornick

(UPDATED COVERAGE Aug. 15) Renewable Resources Group Inc., a Los Angeles-based asset management firm, has acquired Sun World International LLC from Black Diamond Capital Management LLC.

No changes are planned to operations, personnel or senior management at Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World, according to both companies.

The purchase price was not disclosed. The transaction closed Aug. 9. Black Diamond Capital Management, Greenwich, Conn., acquired Sun World in 2005 out of a bankruptcy filing at auction for about $128 million.

“I think it’s fantastic for Sun World,” said David Dever, the company’s chief executive officer. “It’s going to provide us additional resources for renovation of some of our current land holdings. It’s going to allow us to expand in both the Coachella and San Joaquin valleys, to go out and purchase additional acreage and to plant. Lastly, it’s going to provide a larger focus on our innovation and varietal development program.”

Renewable Resources has been active in Kern County for more than a decade and has farming operations in Riverside County. About two years ago, the firm agreed to buy about 4,000 acres near Blythe, Calif., from Sun World.

“Sun World benefited greatly from having Black Diamond Capital Management as our owner,” Dever said. “They allowed us to plant some of our newer varieties during that time frame. We have so much more to plant, though, because of our varietal development program.

“We’ve come up with some excellent varieties like those marketed under the brand names AutumnCrisp and Adora Seedless, and a couple of varieties that we’re getting prepared to release. This opportunity gives us the necessary amount of capital to go out and plant additional acreage of our proprietary varieties.”

Sun World’s immediate focus is on table grapes, Dever said. “But we will continue to look at new ways to expand in the other crops we grow such as peppers, strawberries, tree fruit and some citrus,” he added.

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