(UPDATED COVERAGE, 4 p.m.) NatureSweet Ltd., San Antonio, plans to buy all the assets of competing greenhouse company EuroFresh Farms.
Willcox, Ariz.-based EuroFresh, greenhouse tomato and cucucumber grower, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Tuscon’s Federal Bankruptcy Court on Jan. 27.
The purchase will take place through a “363 sale,” which allows a company filing for bankruptcy to immediately sell assets to bidders, with the approval of the U.S. States Bankruptcy Court, according to a news release.
According to the bankruptcy filing, there will be no funds available for distribution to unsecured creditors. Estimated assets are between $10 million and $50 million, with estimated liabilities between $50 million to $100 million.
The top unsecured creditor is the Southwest Gas Company, owed $1.5 million. Other creditors included a trucking company, a fertilizer firm, packaging companies, legal services providers, the Arizona Correctional Industries (nearly $500,000), and several technology and equipment vendors.
“Bringing EuroFresh products into the NatureSweet family provides us with new product offerings and U.S. growing facilities that we are confident will provide significant value to our customers,” Bryant Ambelang, chief executive officer and president of NatureSweet said in the release. “This acquisition is a great opportunity to continue our growth while providing customers with the premium branded tomatoes they have come to expect from NatureSweet.”
Johan van den Berg, chief executive officer of EuroFresh Farms, said in the release that EuroFresh was “pleased to have received this offer from a financially strong organization that will continue to invest in the business of growing and selling greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers.”
The court filings are not expected to affect EuroFresh Farms’ ability to operate its business and deliver on current or future customer orders, according to the release.