Paine & Partners sells off Sunrise Growers for $450m

After growing revenues by nearly 80 percent in two years, Paine & Partners exits investment in frozen fruit supplier.

Agribusiness specialist firm Paine & Partners has sold Sunrise Growers to SunOpta for $450 million. The firm helped grow the frozen fruit company’s revenues by 78 percent after buying the supplier from its Fund III in March 2013 for an undisclosed amount.

Between 2013 and 2015, Sunrise Growers acquired Gems of Fruit, Pacific Ridge Farms and Opus Foods. These acquisitions, a Paine & Partners representative told Agri Investor, provided Sunrise with a distribution hub in the Midwest and substantially added to its sourcing, processing and shipping capabilities, allowing it to expand into Midwestern, Southern and East Coast customer markets.

“Since our acquisition of Sunrise, we have worked closely with the management team to significantly grow the business through strategic acquisitions and growth capital investments,” said Kevin Schwartz, president and founding partner of Paine & Partners in a statement on the sale.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings show Sunrise Growers had a 78 percent increase in total revenues (from $143.7 million to $256.8 million) and a 33 percent growth in operating income (from $10.7 million to $14.3 million) between the end of years 2012 and 2014.

Paine & Partners’ sale of Sunrise Growers marks the second exit by the $1.26 billion Fund III, following the $550 million July IPO of Costa Group. The firm has said it plans to initiate sale of another Fund III portfolio company, Icicle Seafoods, after the end of the 2015 salmon season, following the collapse of a previously-announced deal to sell the company.

Paine & Partners is currently in the deployment phase of its $893 million Fund IV, which made its inaugural investment this year in European Union agricultural giant, Spearhead International.