(March 18) YAKIMA, Wash. — A deal giving a Seattle private equity investment firm partial ownership of Yakima-based C.M. Holtzinger Fruit Co. Inc. will allow the nearly century-old family-owned company to leave the growing business and concentrate on marketing and distribution.
Holtzinger Fruit March 16 announced it had agreed to Intracorp Capital LLC’s intent to ac-quire certain assets and operations from Holtzinger’s majority shareholders, co-owners C. Mark Holtzinger, president and chief executive officer, and Andy Brassington, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“They’re the ideal business partner for our company,” Brassington said. “They will bring outstanding management and business experience to help us become an even stronger com-pany.”
Details of the agreement, expected to be finished by June, were not announced.
Gordon McFadden, Intracorp’s president and principal, will be a silent partner in Holtz-inger’s operations, Brassington said. McFadden, Holtzinger and Brassington will be the com-pany’s owners.
Intracorp also will have “a couple of positions” on Holtzinger’s board, said Bill Elkins, Holtzinger’s marketing director.
“These are nonag guys that will bring a new set of eyes to the table,” he said. “They will bring some strengths. We will maintain ours.”
Holtzinger, founded in 1908, had $100 million in gross apple, cherry, pear and organic sales last year, Elkins said.
Intracorp focuses on acquiring or recapitalizing profitable and private West Coast compa-nies valued from $5 million to $100 million. The Holtzinger deal is Intracorp’s first agricultural or food industry investment, Elkins said.
Elkins said the idea of having Intracorp buy into Holtzinger came through a decade-old friendship Holtzinger and Brassington have had with McFadden.
Holtzinger said his father, Charles Mark Holtzinger, 70, son of Holtzinger founder Charles Milton Holtzinger, had been looking for an “exit strategy” that would complete his succession planning, allowing the company to focus on sourcing, packing, marketing and distribution.
Holtzinger Fruit announced it would sell its six 1,000-acre company-owned apple, cherry and pear orchards, which account for 15% of the company’s fruit volume. Holtzinger expects to ship 6 million boxes of the commodities combined.