Blue Road invests $250m in global produce distributor

NY-based Blue Road Capital, which is currently raising its debut fund, is helping Vanguard International to grow its fruit and vegetable business.

Vanguard International has received a $250 million investment from Blue Road Capital, a New York-based investment firm focusing on agribusiness.

The funding will be used to boost Vanguard’s current business and make strategic acquisitions of fruit and vegetable production assets globally, according to a statement.

“We believe Blue Road will enable us to continue to grow Vanguard’s global business and to develop a global vertically-integrated fresh fruit and vegetable organisation, from farm to customer,” Craig Stauffer, co-founder and chief executive of Vanguard, said in a statement. Stauffer said Vanguard expects to close its first add-on acquisitions in the near future.

Founded in 1991, Vanguard is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington. It has growers in the US, China, Australia, India and several European and South American countries. The firm distributes fresh products like apples, berries, grapes and potatoes into North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In 2014, Vanguard had $150 million in sales.

Blue Road focuses on acquisition and development of agri-focused businesses and has invested over $2 billion “in equity in companies across the commodity value chain, from production, processing, storage and logistics to marketing, sales, and distribution”, according to a statement.

In May, Blue Road held a $96.11 million third close on its debut fund, according to US regulatory filings that reflect commitments from eight investors to date. The target fund size was not disclosed. Growth Capital Services, a San Francisco-based boutique broker dealer firm, is listed as the placement agent.

It was unclear at press time whether Blue Road had used any of the capital raised so far to fund the Vanguard deal.

The firm could not immediately be reached for comment at press time.