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The announcement of a merger between two of the leading international table grape variety breeding specialists represents a major announcement for the global table grape industry. IFG and SNFL, along with Sun World International and Grapa, are currently world leaders in Table Grape varietal development.

In a press release published by International Fruit Genetics (IFG) at Bakersfield, California on March 8, 2022. It was announced that AM Fresh Group and Special New Fruit Licensing (SNFL) have concluded a definitive agreement under which AM Fresh is acquiring International Fruit Genetics (IFG) and merging it with SNFL, creating a combined company that significantly advances SNFL’s and IFG’s abilities to further develop their breeding capacities and add their innovative portfolio to address the unprecedented industry demand. AM Fresh will be the controlling shareholder of the combined entity, with significant minority investment from EQT Future and continued investment from Paine Schwartz Partners.

This merger between IFG and SNFL will fast-track varietal breeding, development, and commercialization, which will benefit licensed growers, partners, and consumers with more sustainable alternatives and improved varietals throughout the year.

According to Alvaro Muñoz, CEO of the AM Fresh Group, their group is committed to delivering to the consumer goods that are fresh, natural, and healthy, goods that will excite the consumers. He also added that they are striving towards creating the next frontier of sustainable fresh foods for the benefit of all.

Mr. Muñoz believes that by working together with IFG, they will spearhead varietal innovation and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of innovative varieties which are nature and health positive benefiting growers, their retail partners, and consumers.

IFG has focused more on consumer traits and flavour, whereas SNFL focuses on health benefits, diseases tolerance, and important grower traits. IFG and SNFL will strive to increase the possibilities and offer of breeding differentiation.

Josep Estiarte, Managing Director of SNFL Group, said: “By combining two breeding teams with profound and very diverse experience in different fields of plant genetics we will seek to propel varieties which will be a better fit for the future and will fast-track the development of more sustainable and healthier varieties aligned with the market trends. In addition, integrating two different pools of talent developed over 15 years enables the implementation of best practices into the plant varietal development process.”

Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG, said that this transaction represents advancement for the entire industry. IFG’S operations will continue as per usual while the agreement enters a review process which could take 12 to 18months to finalise.

The AM FRESH Group will be the controlling shareholder of the combined entity, with continued investment from Paine Schwartz and significant minority investment from EQT Future.

Carl Johan Renström, Partner within EQT Future Advisory Team, said that they are delighted to support these two innovative companies, and that it is a prime example of how EQT Future invests in companies with the potential to lead industries towards a more sustainable future. EQT Future will support accelerated investments in R&D and focus on impact, digitization, systems, and organizational development. They look forward to partnering with renowned fresh produce company, AM FRESH, and sustainable food chain investor PSP on this journey.

Article by Jacques Burger

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