Oppy expands Peru presence with acquisition of 50% stake in Agroretail

The Canadian fruit and vegetable distribution and marketing company plans to service new export markets from the South American nation.

The Oppenheimer Group (Oppy), a privately held fruit and vegetable distribution and marketing company, has acquired a 50 percent stake in Peruvian produce supplier Agroretail for an undisclosed price.

Oppy already imports avocados, grapes, mangoes and other crops from Peru and provides a variety of items to retail and wholesale customers in the country, according to a  statement from the company.

Chairman and chief executive John Anderson said Oppy plans to use its investment in Agroretail to supply new export markets. Peru is one of five countries where Oppy maintains an office dedicated to grower relations.

“The investment enhances Oppy as a turn-key provider of fresh produce in this important developing market,” the company said.

Oppy declined to comment and Agroretail did not reply to messages seeking further detail.

Agroretail is headquartered in Lima and provides apples, pears, tangerines and other crops to retail customers in Peru. The company has been among Oppy’s suppliers for years, Oppy said.

“In many ways, this new agreement is an extension of our tried and trusted relationship,” Agroretail general manager Francisco Avendano added. “We are proud of the work we have done together and look forward to leveraging the great growth potential in several key categories in the years ahead.”

Oppy was founded in 1858 and is headquartered in Vancouver. It supplies more than 100 varieties of produce to retail, wholesale and foodservice customers in North America and export markets. The company describes its history as including the pioneering of large-scale produce shipment programs from New Zealand, Australia and Chile during the 1950s and subsequent introduction of kiwifruit and Granny Smith apples to North American markets.

The company offers financing to growers in its network and also maintains a separate unit that pursues vertically-integrated investments into greenhouses, grape vineyards and apple orchards.

Dundalk, Ireland-headquartered Total Produce owns a 65 percent stake in Oppy and the remaining ownership is divided between company staff and New Zealand Stock exchange-listed produce grower and marketer T&G Global. The partnership formed by Oppy, T&G Global and Total Produce constitutes an alliance representing $6 billion in annual sales, according to Oppy’s website.

Oppy operates in more than 25 countries through strategic partnerships where the company offers sales and marketing services to growers. Its partnerships include agreements under which Oppy distributes berries under the Ocean Spray brand, kiwi fruit under the Zespri brand and Oceanside Pool tomatoes, among others.