Miura invests in leading Spanish citrus exporter

The Barcelona firm has bought a 25% equity share in the company, to be bolstered by co-investments from European institutional investors.

Barcelona’s Miura Private Equity has bought a 25 percent equity state in the Spanish citrus export company Martinavarro from its €200 million Miura Private Equity Fund II, a spokeswoman told Agri Investor.

The deal will be followed by futher co-investments from several European institutional investors. Fund II’s investors include the European Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank, which have invested €30 million each, according to PEI Research and Analytics.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Miura will join the Martinavarro and Ballester founding families and others on the current management team, with co-investors becoming the remaining shareholders.

The firm said while it does not have a specific agribusiness strategy, it sees a global growth opportunity in investing in Spain’s leading citrus exporter.

Martinavarro, which manages over 1,000 hectares of citrus-fruit producing land in Spain, will use the investment to consolidate its place in the European market and diversify its supply chains in both northern and southern hemispheres. Spain is the world’s biggest citrus exporter and the leading producer in Europe, accounting for 59.8 percent of production according to Eurostat.

In 2011-2012, Spain exported 3.2 million tonnes of citrus, according to the World Bank Food and Agriculture Organisation. Martinavarro, which says it is Spain’s leading citrus export company, handles 400 million kilos annually, according to a press release.

“Miura considers this a strategic sector with great potential to grow and consolidate,” the firm told Agri Investor. “Citrus fruits have become a strategic category for widespread distribution given that they benefit from strong sales and margins, and act as a differentiator in a market sensitive to quality.”

As well as shoring up supply chains, Miura’s investment will be used to increase Martinavarro’s processing and packaging capacity. Miura also invested in hotel and restaurant food distributor Guzman Gastronomia in 2012.