Calavo expands tropical-product footprint

May 21, 2008
Calavo Growers Inc. has acquired Hawaiian Sweet Inc. and Hawaii Pride LLC, papaya and tropical-product packing and processing operations on the Big Island.

Calavo Growers Inc. has acquired Hawaiian Sweet Inc. and Hawaii Pride LLC, papaya and tropical-product packing and processing operations on the Big Island that are owned by Lee E. Cole, Calavo’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer. The company also has appointed Michael R. Lippold, CFA, a food-industry securities analyst, as director of strategic development, a newly created position.

An avocado marketer and provider of other fresh-commodity-produce items, Calavo said both the papaya acquisition and Lippold hire are consistent with its CEO’s declared business agenda targeting 25 percent compound annual revenue growth through fiscal 2013.

Under terms of the transaction, Calavo acquires fresh operations that pack an estimated 65-70 percent of all Hawaiian-grown papayas and 80 percent of the mainland supply originating from the islands. The purchase brings under company ownership two fresh-papaya packinghouses and cooling facilities, papaya and guava puree operations (sold in bulk to food manufacturers), and USDA-approved electronic-beam-irradiation technology used for processing Hawaiian sweet potatoes, papayas, and other tropical fruits bound for export. Calavo also gains approximately 3,000 acres on the eastern slopes of the Big Island—more than 725 owned and the remainder under lease—which, in turn, are sub-let to farmers under contract for their harvests with Hawaiian Sweet.

An all-cash transaction, the total purchase consideration ranges from $10 million to $14 million, subject to meeting certain operating-performance targets through May 31, 2009.

View more food distributors news from Refrigerated Transporter.

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