Sale of Ontario Plants Propagation to COFRA Holding

January 29, 2010


Role

Financial advisor to Ontario Plants Propagation to COFRA Holding

Sector

Consumer, Food & Retail

Valuation

Undisclosed

Status

Closed

Location

United States

Contact

Lazard advised Ontario Plants Propagation Limited (“OPPL” or the “Company”), a portfolio company of Sunridge Partners, on its sale to COFRA Holding (“COFRA”). OPPL is North America’s foremost supplier of high-quality starter plants for hydroponic and organic greenhouse growers.

Founded in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada in 2002, OPPL is the preferred supplier of starter tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers for leading growers throughout Canada and the United States. OPPL operates ultra-modern greenhouses totaling 45-acres and has developed the most modern and advanced plant propagation technology and infrastructure in North America.

Robert Poultney, Chief Executive Officer of OPPL, said “Having joined the Company under Sunridge’s ownership, it has been a privilege to work with like-minded entrepreneurs on rapidly growing our business and setting it up for continued long-term growth and success. We are now excited to join COFRA which plans to invest in our business and growth plan in line with their mission to be a force for good in society and for the environment. COFRA wants to build a trusted ecosystem for growers to produce more sustainable and nutritious food. Together we will enter our next phase of growth to the benefit of our customers and team.”

The acquisition of OPPL is COFRA’s third investment in the sustainable food system since November 2021, following the acquisition of Dalsem, a high-tech greenhouse developer based in the Netherlands, and an investment in Intelligent Growth Solutions, a UK-based vertical farming technology provider. All three investments reflect COFRA’s focus on controlled environment agriculture, which enables growers to produce healthy food at higher yields while using less resources and waste. 


Consumer

CEA is driving evolutionary change in the North American fresh produce category, with greenhouse-grown vegetables rapidly increasing their share within the category

Consumers are increasingly demanding greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables, driven by a focus on produce that is locally grown, sustainably sourced, traceable, and safe. CEA offers consumers a consistent, local, year-round supply of fresher and more nutritious products grown in a sustainable way.

Boudewijn Beerkens, CEO of COFRA Holding, said: “Our acquisition of Ontario Plants further underlines COFRA’s commitment to investing in businesses that are tackling some of the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges. The world needs to transition to a more sustainable food system. Controlled Environment Agriculture will be essential to meeting the world’s food needs over the coming decades and, as one of the leading suppliers in North America, Ontario Plants is an ideal addition to COFRA’s offering in the sustainable food space. Ontario Plants and Dalsem will together create a trusted ecosystem for growers to produce more sustainable and nutritious food. I am pleased to welcome the talented team at Ontario Plants to COFRA and I look forward to working together to serve the leading growers in North America and beyond.”

This transaction is an example of the market interest in controlled environment agriculture (“CEA”). 

CEA is driving evolutionary change in the North American fresh produce category, with greenhouse-grown vegetables rapidly increasing their share within the category.
Consumers are increasingly demanding greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables, driven by a focus on produce that is locally grown, sustainably sourced, traceable, and safe. CEA offers consumers a consistent, local, year-round supply of fresher and more nutritious products grown in a sustainable way.

OPPL represents another ESG/sustainability-focused, high-tech agribusiness transaction for Lazard’s Private Market Advisory Consumer, Food & Retail Group, and represents the continuation of the group's focus on advising on-trend and rapidly-growing food and agricultural companies, globally. 


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