The European frozen food leader Ardo has acquired a majority stake in VLM Foods, a well-established supplier of processed food in North America, headquartered in Montreal with sales of EUR 129 million (USD 143 million). Besides VLM Foods, the deal includes a controlling stake in Compañia Frutera La Paz S.A., Costa Rica’s largest frozen pineapple producer. The latter allowing Ardo to broaden its frozen fruit product range.
VLM Foods is very well positioned in the North American market through its strong corporate image, extensive range of quality products, and its expertise in North American compliance and food safety regulations. The combination with Ardo’s leadership in sustainable agriculture, quality processing and product innovation capabilities, will allow VLM Foods to accelerate its market penetration, and provide Ardo with a strong North American platform.
Jeff Preston, will remain President of VLM Foods and become Regional Director Ardo North America. Marcel Lessard, VLM Foods’ Founder 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.
Jan Haspeslagh, Managing Director of Ardo:
“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. 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.”
Jeff Preston, President of VLM Foods:
“In addition to commodity vegetables, retail, foodservice and Industrial opportunities, we will look to expand new areas such as IQF herbs and value added products such as organics and a wide range of innovative products, available in the wide Ardo product offerings. Existing sustainable agriculture programs at Ardo can be leveraged into increased opportunities with the right marketing approach in the North American market.”
With a turnover of EUR 868 / USD 961 Million (as per June 2017) and 3,800 employees, the family owned Ardo Group (headquartered in Ardooie, Belgium) is the European leader in the production of a full range of fresh frozen vegetables, herbs and fruit for retail, foodservice and industry. Today the Ardo Group has 20 production, distribution and packing units in 8 European countries, ensuring optimal sourcing from the most productive growing regions. The Group markets 780,000 tons of fresh frozen vegetables, herbs, fruit, pasta, potato products and rice worldwide.
Ardo’s vertical integration model controls the entire production chain, from the selection of seed to packing and distribution. Ardo’s differentiating expertise on raw material and sustainable processing, as well as its flexible structure enable the development of new products that meet market needs and trends.
About VLM Foods:
VLM Foods, founded in 2001 and headquartered in Montreal Canada, is an international food marketing company specializing in the sourcing and supply of fresh frozen fruits, vegetables and herbs, specialty grains and proteins for the retail, foodservice and industrial sectors. The company employs 35 people and realizes a turnover of EUR 129 / USD 143 million.
North American leader in import trade compliance, VLM Foods is one of only 7 companies to have been selected to pilot U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Trader Program providing unique trade facilitation measures for highly compliant companies. Long recognized for playing an important role in upstream food safety oversight and food safety capacity building, VLM Foods makes use of in-house GFSI and Global Gap auditing expertise focusing on the safety and quality of the foods it brings to market
About Compañia Frutera La Paz:
Compañia Frutera La Paz, founded in 2006 with food processing operations in San Carlos Costa Rica, is one of Central America’s largest frozen tropical fruit processors. The company employs 300 people and realizes a turnover of EUR 25 / USD 28 million.
GFSI, HACCP, Kosher, Global Gap and Organic certified, La Paz exports conventional as well as an important share of organic products to more than 20 international markets. It is the world’s 1st carbon neutral certified frozen tropical fruit processor.