Blue Road acquires Diamond of California nut business

An Ospraie Management spin-out has acquired Diamond of California in a continuation of the firm’s focus on the nut sector.

Blue Road Capital has acquired the Diamond of California nut business from North Carolina-based snacks company Snyder’s-Lance.

The transaction, part of Snyder’s-Lance’s efforts to focus on growth in its core brands which include Pop Secret, Kettle Chips and Stella Dora  is expected to close by year-end.

The sale will also expedite Snyder’s-Lance’s goal to reduce leverage to below 4.0x by the end of the year and below 3.0x by the end of 2017, according to a company statement.

Founded by a group of walnut growers in 1912, Stockton, California-based Diamond of California offers walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, pecans and other nuts grown by family farms. The company reported net revenue of $42.9 million in the third quarter.

Blue Road, a spin-out from the $1.2 billion agriculture-focused Special Opportunities Fund from Ospraie Management, makes control investments into agriculture, food and ingredient supply and production chains in the Americas.

Its debut fund closed on $433 million earlier this year, including commitments from the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board and the San Mateo County Employees Retirement Association, according to PEI research.

In January, the Merced County Employees Retirement Association’s investment committee voted to rescind its plans to commit $7.5 million to Blue Road, citing the fund’s failure to meet its $750 million target.

But in July sources told Agri Investor that co-investments raised after the close of the fund were expected to exceed the target.

Blue Road representatives did not return messages seeking further detail.