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Sun World taken over by Bridgepoint

Sun World taken over by Bridgepoint

Sun World International LLC, a global fruit genetics, R&D and licensing company, announced an agreement to be acquired by Bridgepoint, an international private equity group. Bridgepoint will become controlling shareholder alongside management and succeed a transformative and successful period of ownership from Renewable Resources Group LLC and Vision Ridge Partners.

The Bridgepoint investment will support Sun World’s plans to accelerate its growth strategy by building a broad-based genetics and technology platform for specialty fruit growers.

“Our connection with the Bridgepoint team was undeniable from the first conversation,” said Sun World CEO David Marguleas, who will serve on the company’s new board and hold an equity position in the company. “They understand and appreciate the extraordinary head start we enjoy in the sector after 30 years of breeding superior produce. And they share our vision of the many ways we can grow. To say we’re ‘excited’ undersells what this new partnership means for Sun World.”

“In partnering with Sun World, our ambition is for it to become a broader based platform investment in fruit genetics with a considerable runway for long term growth,” said Andrew Sweet, a partner at Bridgepoint who leads the firm’s investment activities across North America. Sun World was part of the first wave of genetic innovation for produce, establishing a recurring royalty business model that has enabled it to prioritise its R&D innovation. Today it enjoys a market-leading reputation with the largest growers, distribution partners and retailers globally thanks to its cutting-edge molecular techniques, and breeding processes. We expect to continue to invest in new technologies that benefit growers and consumers alike,” Sweet concluded.

In addition to enhancing its intellectual property portfolio and core grape and stone fruit breeding operation, Sun World has begun work in a number of under-served crops and technology solutions that have strong global appeal. The anticipated growth will be both organic and through investment and acquisition of new genetics and emerging technologies, all of which have the potential to add meaningful value for Sun World growers worldwide.

To facilitate the company’s expansion, last year Sun World opened its new Center for Innovation in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The complex features a sophisticated fruit breeding and variety development operation, including specialized facilities for tissue culture and molecular breeding, and a 160-acre experimental research farm. Sun World currently holds more than 300 plant patents and the company views the Center for Innovation as an important advantage in advancing its pipeline of fruit genetics.

Sun World divested of its substantial farming, packing and marketing operation in 2019 to concentrate more fully on its breeding and licensing business.

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Alibaba secures controlling stake in Sun Art

Alibaba secures controlling stake in Sun Art


Online retail giant Alibaba has acquired a controlling stake in leading Chinese hypermarket and supermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group. As Retail Gazette reports, the move, costing approximately US$3.6 billion, takes Ali Baba’s stake to approximately 72% and strengthens the firm’s commitment to integrating online and offline resources in China’s retail sector. 

Alibaba originally acquired a stake in Sun Art in 2017, as part of a strategic alliance with Auchan Retail and Ruentex Group to digitalise and introduce New Retail solutions at Sun Art stores.

Daniel Zhang, chairman and chief executive of Alibaba Group, said this new investment represented the next step in the company’s New Retail strategy: “The alliance we formed with Auchan Retail and Ruentex was instrumental in building a robust infrastructure to create opportunities and value in China’s retail sector. Led by chief executive Peter Huang, Sun Art has achieved impressive results in its digitalisation, and pursued promising synergies with businesses across the Alibaba digital economy. As the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating the digitalisation of consumer lifestyles and enterprise operations, this commitment to Sun Art serves to strengthen our New Retail vision and serve more consumers with a fully integrated experience.”

As of 30 June, 2020 Sun Art operates 481 hypermarkets and three mid-size supermarkets in China and all Sun Art physical stores have been integrated into Alibaba’s Taoxianda and Tmall Supermarket platforms, providing one-hour and half-day on-demand delivery.

Photo: SUN ART Retail

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Asda owners reassure investors following Deloitte’s sudden exit

Asda owners reassure investors following Deloitte’s sudden exit © Evelyn Simak

© Evelyn Simak (


Asda’s new owner EG Group seeks to reassure shareholders following its auditor Deloitte’s unexpected resignation. The separation is understood to be partly due to concerns regarding a lack of independent directors, according to Retail Gazette. EG Group currently has more than €8 billion in debt from buying petrol stations across the world including hundreds of sites in Australia and the US. EG Group owns around 6,000 petrol stations and posted nearly €20 billion in revenue last year. Deloitte’s reasons for resignation remain unclear, though governance concerns had been raised, with Deloitte reportedly unsatisfied that EG Group’s internal controls were keeping pace with its growth. EG maintained that Deloitte signed a clean audit for EG Group’s 2019 financial statements, and there have been no disagreements on any auditing or accounting matters.

The petrol station business is separate from the £6.8 billion Asda acquisition completed this month, with the Issa brothers and TDR set to take equal stakes in the group.

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Walmart sells off Asda

Walmart sells off Asda to Zuber and Mohsin Issa © PR (The Guardian)
Zuber and Mohsin Issa © PR (Source: The Guardian)


Walmart has sold its majority stake in Asda in a deal that values the UK supermarket chain at £6.8 billion. The purchasers are a consortium of brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa and private equity firm TDR Capital, which will take a majority stake in the chain. It means the grocer will return to majority UK ownership for the first time in two decades.

The Issa brothers own EG Group, which has more than 5,200 petrol stations across the UK and Europe. According to the BBC, Walmart said that, under the new owners, Asda will invest £1 billion in the supermarket over the next three years. Asda will keep its headquarters in Leeds and its chief executive, Roger Burnley, will remain in place.

A merger with Sainsbury’s was previously blocked as it would represent unfair competition. Walmart bought Asda in 1999 for £6.7 billion and will retain a minority stake in the retailer.

Asda already has a business relationship with the Issa brothers with its forecourt activities. The supermarket recently announced that it is to open convenience store formats called “Asda On the Move”, which will initially be trialled at three of EG Group’s fuel station forecourts in the Midlands.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa said they wanted to support Asda’s management to achieve long-term growth. “We believe that our experience with EG Group, including our expertise around convenience and brand partnerships and our successful partnership with TDR Capital, can help to accelerate and execute that growth strategy,” they said.

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Carrefour expands Taiwan network with takeover

Carrefour expands Taiwan network with takeover

Carrefour is expanding its presence in Taiwan, just as it pulls out of China. The French retailer announced an agreement to acquire Wellcome Taiwan, consolidating its position as the leading multi-format food retailer in Taiwan. As part of the agreement, Carrefour will acquire 224 proximity stores in quality locations (199 Wellcome – average sales area of 420 sq. m – and 25 Jasons – average sales area of 820 sq. m) as well as a warehouse (including ownership of the real estate and land). By combining these businesses, it is expected that both customers and team members will benefit from the group’s greater strength and scale, with a resulting boost in quality, prices, and service. The transaction is expected to be closed by the end of 2020.

Wellcome brings recognised expertise in fresh produce and will contribute to the development of food e-commerce, with each store becoming a new pick-up point for online orders. Carrefour plans to convert the Wellcome stores to the Market banner within 12 months after the closing of the transaction, and then convert Jasons stores to a Carrefour premium banner. 

The estimated cost of the acquisition is €97 million euros. Wellcome Taiwan posted net sales of around €390 million in 2019. Carrefour is accelerating the development of its network in Taiwan in the fast-growing proximity format, making it second largest player in this format. Carrefour currently operates 137 stores in Taiwan, including 69 proximity stores under the Market banner. The Group posted net sales in the country of €1.97billion in 2019.

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Ahold Delhaize announces U.S. brand Food Lion has agreed to acquire 62 stores from Southeastern Grocers



Zaandam, the Netherlands, June 3, 2020 – Ahold Delhaize announces today that Food Lion, its second largest brand in the United States, by sales, has agreed to purchase 62 BI-LO and Harveys Supermarkets from Southeastern Grocers. The stores are located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia and will be converted to Food Lion stores, as part of the brand’s continued expansion in the southeast of the U.S.

Food Lion, based in Salisbury, N.C., operates more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and employs more than 77,000 associates. As part of the asset deal Food Lion expects to hire more than 4,650 associates to serve customers at the 62 acquired stores.

This asset deal with Southeastern Grocers also includes the acquisition of an additional distribution center in Mauldin, S.C. Both acquisitions are currently expected to close in the first half of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and Group financial guidance remains unchanged.

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LCL continues expansion in Netherlands market

LCL continues expansion in Netherlands market, CEO Andres Nunez Sorensen, Broom Group /// © MundoMaritimo
CEO Andres Nunez Sorensen, Broom Group /// © MundoMaritimo


Leading logistics operator LCL continues to consolidate its presence in the Dutch fresh produce sector with the purchase of coldstorage and distribution facilities of Dutch company Saphir (part of the Jupiter Group). This represents the second major acquisition in 3 months for LCL, a subsidiary of Chilean logistics operator Broom Group, having taken a majority shareholding in B&L Fruitlogistics. Further key investments in Peru are expected for later in 2020, reports Fruitnet.

According to Group CEO Andres Nunez Sorensen, the latest acquisition is part of the expansion of Broom Group’s end-to-end fruit logistics services, encompassing coldstorage and packing facilities in origin countries, 3PL services, and trucking.

Jupiter Group chief executive Mark Tweddle said that the sale “allows us to focus on our core business as a grower, importer and distributor of fresh produce worldwide, simultaneously maintaining a first-class distribution service operation in the hands of our number-one global logistics service provider, LCL.”

The day-to-day management of Broom Frio and B&L will be handled by Brian Bakker, who said he saw increased demand for storage and value-add services in the area, supporting the ever increasing volumes of fresh produce flowing into Europe via the Dutch and Belgian ports and terminals.

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T&G Global to take over Freshmax’s produce division

T&G Global to take over Freshmax’s produce division

One of New Zealand’s largest fresh produce companies, T&G Global has signed an agreement to purchase the domestic fresh produce division of Freshmax NZ. T&G Global CEO Gareth Edgecombe said that the deal, costing US$20 million, will strengthen the firm’s New Zealand business, deliver better service to growers and customers, provide a platform for an enhanced supply chain and supply the highest quality fresh produce to customers year-round. He said, “Freshmax NZ brings a strong team, operations and facilities and a large distribution services business which are all complementary additions to T&G’s NZ Produce business.”

T&G Global’s managing director New Zealand Produce, Andrew Keaney, said the acquisition brings excellent trading relationships and strong supply relationships in key categories.

“We’re excited to bring together the combined strengths of the Freshmax and T&G teams, suppliers and customers into our business, and build a stronger combined presence in the New Zealand market.

The deal includes three market sites (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) and distribution services across the country. It is still subject to review by the Commerce Commission.

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DSV acquires Panalpina to become world’s 4th largest freight firm

DSV acquires Panalpina to become world’s 4th largest freight firm

Danish logistics company DSV is to take over the Swiss company Panalpina for US$4.6 billion in a bid to consolidate its position in the transport sector. According to Reuters, DSV is seeking to broaden his company’s global reach and cut costs. With the addition of Panalpina, DSV will become the world’s fourth-largest freight-forwarding company, behind DHL Logistics, Kuehne & Nagel and DB Schenker. DSV expects to be able to integrate Panalpina within two to three years and is confident that the takeover will be approved by the competition watchdog.

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European Commission postpones ruling on Total Produce acquisition of Dole

dole total

The European Commission is to delay until July 30th its ruling on Total Produce’s €260m acquisition of a stake in Dole. The move comes after the Total Produce agreed to a number of concessions. The changes are believed to be minor. The EU’s competition watchdog had previously set July 16th as the initial deadline.

The Irish fresh produce distributor announced early this year its intended acquisition of a 45% stake in Dole, one of the world’s top producers of bananas and pineapples. To fund the deal, it is seeking to generate US$150m. If approval is obtained from US and EU regulators, a global conglomerate with combined sales of €8bn will be created. Total Produce has the option to fully acquire Dole in five years.