UPDATED Mission Produce buys half of Chilean avocado company - The Packer

UPDATED Mission Produce buys half of Chilean avocado company

10/14/2011 09:49:00 AM
Chris Koger

(UPDATED COVERAGE, Oct. 14) Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc. has agreed to purchase 50% of Cabilfrut S.A., Santiago, Chile.

The acquisition will not mean an immediate increase in Mission’s avocado imports to the U.S., said Jim Donovan, vice president of business development.

“It will eventually lead to increased volumes out of Chile, however,” Donovan said.

Buying into Cabilfrut will bolster Mission’s overall marketing strategy.

“For our customers, it’s going to mean the continuity of our Mission programs, our ripe programs, to the continuity of the supply side,” Donovan said.

The Chilean fruit will help strengthen Mission’s fall/winter deal. The avocado season in Chile generally runs from September through March, very similar to the Mexican avocado season, Donovan said. The California and Peru seasons also are similar, usually April through September, giving the company year-round supplies, he said.

Mission has been importing avocados from Chile for nearly 25 years, Donovan said.

“We were actually the first to bring Chilean avocados into the U.S.,” he said.

In addition to South America, Cabilfrut exports avocados to North America, Europe and Asia, while Mission Produce has avocado packing and processing operations in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Mission also grows avocados in California, Mexico and Peru and operates eight ripening and distribution centers across the U.S. and in Canada.

Mission expects the purchase to be finalized by the end of the year, Donovan said. Once the acquisition is official, the fruit will carry the Mission label.

More acquisitions may be in Mission’s future. It will continue to invest in production and ripening distribution systems as global demand grows, Donovan said.

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