SOUTH AFRICA – San Miguel, Argentina based fruit and vegetable exporting company, has agreed to transfer its fresh fruit operations in South Africa and Peru to Citri&Co, one of the largest fresh fruit groups in Europe.
The deal also includes the exclusive international commercialization of its fresh fruit from Argentina and Uruguay.
Following the transaction, San Miguel will continue to operate in South Africa, Argentina, and Uruguay concentrating its business focus on promoting the production and export of lemon derivatives, strategic ingredients for its customers in the beverage, food, flavour and fragrance industries.
It will also be able to strengthen its financial structure and reallocate capital in new investment projects aimed at expanding its product offering in its industrial business for the supply of Natural Ingredients to its strategic customers around the world.
San Miguel is the leading company in the production of citrus in the southern hemisphere and this new chapter in its history aims to strengthen its global leadership in the industrial business, in which it processes more than 300 thousand tons of lemon.
San Miguel’s focus on lemon juice production in South Africa is a bold move as the country currently faces a possible anti-dumping duties on lemon juice exported to USA.
The country’s exports of lemon juice have been growing at a brisk pace, up 61 percent from 2018 to 2021, so any restrictions will knock the lemon industry.
In addition, it produces high value-added products such as essential oils, juices, and dehydrated peel that it exports to food, beverage, and fragrance and flavor companies around the world.
Likewise, the company will continue to produce and export around 60,000 tons of fresh fruit from Argentina and Uruguay, which will be commercialized from now on by Citri&Co.
“We are very excited to start this new chapter in San Miguel successful history by focusing our strategy on the development and growth of the Natural Ingredients business through new investment projects to continue supplying our customers around the world.” explained Pablo Plá, San Miguel CEO, about the agreement.
Over the past 12 years, San Miguel has made a significant contribution in South Africa by establishing new packaging, building a trust fund for employees, and promoting local development by creating more than 2,000 jobs each season.
In Peru, the company managed to increase efficiency levels and production in all crops, strengthening long-term relationships with the world’s leading retailers.
“We are confident that Citri&Co has all the conditions to continue promoting fresh fruit operations in Peru and South Africa to the next level, as well as making a positive contribution to San Miguel to boost the commercialization of its fresh fruit business,” concluded Plá.
The closing of the deal would be subject to the usual conditions for this type of transactions and is expected to happen in the coming weeks.