(UPDATED COVERAGE, Dec. 10) Just a few months after acquiring one of the largest Texas citrus shippers, Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus plans to acquire another major player.
The company plans to close a deal to acquire the assets of Edinburg, Texas-based Rio Queen Citrus Inc., making Paramount Citrus the largest shipper of Texas citrus.
A news release says the companies hope to close the deal by the end of December.
David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus, said in the news release Rio Queen is known for shipping a high quality, consistent product.
“We believe Paramount is well-positioned with its marketing activities to increase the demand for Texas grapefruit to a whole new level,” he said, in a news release.
Mike Martin, president of Rio Queen Citrus, said in the release he and his father Ken, who serves as the company’s chairman, plan to remain involved in the operation for now with no changes until the citrus season comes to a close in late spring.
The news release said in the spring Paramount intends to merge Healds Valley, which it acquired in the summer, and Rio Queen into Paramount Citrus.
“We’re excited about what this transaction will mean for both Rio Queen and Paramount,” Martin said, in the release. “Paramount Citrus is the undisputed leader in the citrus industry, and this will allow Paramount Citrus to leverage their other products to create better results for Texas growers.”
Rio Queen, according to the release, manages more than 5,000 acres of citrus and 1,150 acres of onions. Paramount Citrus, according to the release, ships more than 15 million cartons of fresh citrus from 42,000 acres of owned property.
Rio Queen's future
Martin said plans for Rio Queen’s other non-citrus business, including onions and melons, has yet to be determined.
“Our focus is to get past closing,” he said. “There are a number of decisions that haven’t been completely made yet.”
Martin said Rio Queen is in the middle of onion season in Oregon and has onions in the ground already in Texas.
“Those things will be sorted out over the next few months,” he said.