(May 27) To expand its papaya business, Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., has acquired tropical fruit packing and processing operations of Hawaiian Sweet Inc. and Hawaii Pride LLC, a company news release said.

The company will pay between $10 million and $14 million in cash for the two businesses. It is financing the purchase with existing credit facilities, according to media reports. Lee Cole, Calavo’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, owned the two companies.

Along with the two fresh papaya facilities, the deal includes papaya and guava puree operations and irradiation technology used to process Hawaiian sweet potatoes, papayas and other exported fruits.

Calavo will gain an estimated $8 million in tangible assets from the packing, cooling and processing facilities, along with the ownership of more than 725 acres. It leases an additional 2,275 acres on the Big Island, and leases them to farmers under contract to provide fruit for the Hawaiian Sweet brand.

The acquisition should enable Calavo to pack about two-thirds of all Hawaiian-grown papayas and 80% of the mainland supply that originates from the islands.

“Calavo transitions from simply being paid a commission on its papaya sales to collecting full margin based on its ownership of the papaya and tropical-product operations,” Authur Bruno, chief operating officer, said in the release.

Phone calls to Calavo on May 23 were not returned.