13 September, London, UK: ADM Capital Europe, the London-based private equity firm, is pleased to announce that its Cibus Fund (“Cibus”) has acquired assets consisting of more than 230 hectares from international berry producer Hall Hunter Partnership (“HHP”) to create The Summer Berry Company.
ADM Capital’s Cibus Fund approached HHP at the start of the year recognising it as one of the pioneers of soft-fruit production with the business spanning seven sites across Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex. In 2016 the business began operating a farm in Portugal, expanding the production season and allowing for new varieties. Since its foundation in 1966, HHP has grown to become a market leader; supplying strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries to the most prominent retailers in the UK, including Waitrose, Tesco and Marks & Spencer as well as other European retailers.
The transaction will see ADM Capital’s Cibus Fund carve out a number of HHP’s businesses including HHP Glass, HHP Propagation, HHP Portugal and the Colworth farm assets held by HHP Farming. The assets amount to over 230 hectares of berry cultivation and will be placed within a newly formed holding company; The Summer Berry Company. Cibus will draw on the experience of the long-standing UK and Portugal management teams, who have a proven track record of success and have grown the company to deliver an annual production volume of 7,500 tonnes.
The Cibus Fund aims to take advantage of investment opportunities arising from global demographic change, adoption of improved diets and the inability of many of the world’s fastest growing economies to meet increasing regional demand for certain high-value foods. Praised for their anti-aging properties thanks to their high concentration of antioxidants, berries are now the go-to superfood for consumers who appreciate the health benefits of a colourful balanced diet providing significant growth opportunities for the business.
Commenting, Jeremy Alun-Jones, Chief Operating Officer, ADM Capital said: “Drawing on over 50 years’ experience in the berry industry, HHP has grown to be one of the leading berry growers in the UK. Buoyed by its sustainable approach and investment in new technologies and geographies, the business is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for berries as a superfood.
With global berry consumption growing strongly over recent years we look forward to seizing the opportunity to work with a world-class management team as we execute the business’ ambitious growth strategy and build on the fantastic legacy of the Hall family.”
Commenting, Jason Silm, Senior Investment Director, ADM Capital said: “We are delighted to announce the Cibus Fund’s acquisition of part of HHP. Our investment underlines our commitment to investing in industry leaders who place innovation, efficiency and sustainability at the heart of their business, to produce the highest quality products. Glasshouses and poly tunnels cover the entire cultivated area of HHP’s operation which, using the latest technologies, mitigate the risk posed by adverse weather conditions and disease. These technologies optimise water use, nutrient delivery and growing conditions for the best possible yields whilst maintaining quality and flavour. We look forward to working with the company’s management team to vertically integrate the operation and, using new channels of distribution, take the company directly into new markets.”
Nick Woods/Nick Corrin
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About ADM Capital
ADM Capital is a Hong Kong and London-based private credit and private equity fund manager and adviser. Founded in 1998, ADM Capital manages or advises USD 1.70bn across a range of funds. With over 38 people operating out of 4 international offices ADM Capital manages closed-ended and open-ended funds and managed accounts. With its long track record, and expertise in Asia, ADM Capital focuses on off-market private transactions accessed via its extensive, proprietary network. ADM Capital recently launched the Cibus Fund, focussed on investing growth capital into next generation global food and agriculture opportunities.
About the Cibus Fund
The Cibus Fund focusses on mid-market investment opportunities in sustainable food processing and production companies, primarily across Europe and Australasia with a secondary mandate for early stage high-growth investments. The Fund takes advantage of the significant investment opportunities presented by global demographic changes, shifting trade patterns and the inability of the world’s fastest growing economies to meet rapidly increasing regional demand for high-value foods driven by burgeoning middle classes. Cibus targets companies with strong management teams that are active in one or more stages of high-value food chains and looks for companies that are established category champions with a demonstrable technological advantage. Investments are also evaluated on their environmental sustainability as a key determinant of value creation.
In October 2018, The Cibus Fund was the first fund to be given ‘Guernsey Green Fund’ status by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission launched the Guernsey Green Fund in July 2018 and it is only awarded to those funds which meet strict eligibility criteria designed to reassure investors that funds are invested in line with appropriate environmental standards. Cibus has been granted this status in recognition of the fact it regards environmental sustainability as a key determinant of value creation.