Ardo, a leading European frozen food company, has acquired a majority stake in North American processed produce supplier VLM Foods, which has sales of USD$143 million.
The deal includes a controlling stake in Compañia Frutera La Paz, Costa Rica’s largest frozen pineapple producer, allowing Ardo to broaden its frozen fruit product range.
Ardo said VLM was well positioned in the North American market through its strong corporate image, extensive range of quality products and expertise in food safety regulations.
The combination with Ardo’s leadership will allow VLM to accelerate its market penetration and provide Ardo with a strong North American platform, it said.
Jeff Preston will remain president of VLM and become Ardo’s regional director for North America.
VLM founder Marcel Lessard, who sold his controlling share, will remain a board member and further foster the development of Compañia Frutera La Paz, which continues to be led by its general manager and founder Luisa Chacon.
“Being the European leader in fresh frozen vegetables, herbs and fruit, Ardo offers a broad product range, a thorough agricultural knowledge, a technical manufacturing competence, as well as professional product innovation capabilities,” Ardo managing director Jan Haspeslagh
“VLM Foods, on the other hand, has proven its professional market knowledge and its dynamic business model. This combination sets the scenery for building the ideal platform to supply high quality, sustainable and value added products into the North American market.”
VLM president Jeff Preston said the company would look to expand new areas such as IQF herbs and value added products such organics and a wide range of innovative products.
“Existing sustainable agriculture programs at Ardo can be leveraged into increased opportunities with the right marketing approach in the North American market,” he said.