By Ian Shalapata
(LEAMINGTON, ON) – Leamington-based Highline Produce has been acquired by Irish importer and distributor of tropical produce Fyffes. The Irish company, headquartered in Dublin and with operations in Europe, the US, and Central and South America, paid $145 million for 100% of the equity in Highline. The funding for this move will be through new and existing bank debt.
All five Highline locations in Canada, including operations in Leamington, Kingsville, and Quebec, will remain open and 1,150 will retain their jobs. Additionally, the current management team, headed by CEO Glenn Martin, will continue to run the business.
“Highline is a very fine business with a strong position in an important product category. We look forward to working with Glenn Martin and his management team to continue to develop the business,” said Fyffes Chairman David McCann. “This transaction fits perfectly with Fyffes strategic objective of adding an additional product to its existing three through the acquisition of an established, successful, integrated operator in a category with significant scale.”
Highline is Canada’s largest operator in the mushroom component of the produce industry with 75% of sales accounted for by retail customers. The estimated book value of Highline’s net assets is $52 million.
The company processes 58 million pounds of mushrooms yearly.