Cibus Capital has acquired a controlling stake in Dutch greenhouse business Duijvestijn Tomaten, which produces and markets a variety of tomatoes. Financial details were undisclosed.
The acquisition is the first step in its buildout of The Flavour Farm, a new European platform focused on local fresh produce grown in controlled environment facilities powered by renewable energy.
Duijvestijn grows four varieties of tomatoes in almost 25 ha of greenhouses, powered by an onsite “geothermal energy system from which almost all of the heat required by the glasshouse is generated, supported by 2,500 solar panels, five combined heat and power systems and an e-boiler. Additionally, repurposed CO2 is supplied from the Dutch Shell refinery, post capture and scrubbing,” said a statement from Cibus.
“As a result of this diversified and resilient energy portfolio, Duijvestijn’s tomato production is almost CO2 neutral and will serve as a blueprint for future locations of The Flavour Farm,” the statement added.
A source close to the deal told Agri Investor that “there are a number of facilities across Europe that are not in close proximity to energy or waste management infrastructure which continue to perform well.
“However, Cibus and The Flavour Farm view positioning alongside or in close proximity to these assets as a key point of differentiation both from a sustainability and cost of production perspective, and as such this will be a core pillar for future growth of the platform.”
The Flavour Farm buildout strategy will target both greenfield developments and the acquisition of existing businesses in the UK and Europe.
Cibus is “exploring opportunities in the UK and Germany due to high reliance on imports in each country and an increasing focus on self-sufficiency,” Agri Investor’s source added.
Duijvestijn currently delivers approximately 17 million kilograms of tomatoes annually to retail, food service, wholesale and specialty stores across Europe and has integrated packaging capabilities. The company counts J Sainsbury and Ahold Delhaize among its customers.
The Flavour Farm buildout will incorporate other crops suited to greenhouses such as a variety of lettuces, peppers and cucumbers.
Capital for the Duijvestijn acquisition was deployed from Cibus Fund II, which has raised $340 million to date and in 2022 took an $80 million commitment from the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association. Cibus declined to disclose the target size of the fund.
The firm’s flagship vehicle is in market alongside its venture capital Enterprise II Fund, which mainly targets opportunities in the agtech space.