Acquires a controlling interest in the Chilean fruit production, packing and export firm
BOSTON (January 26, 2021)— Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a company of Manulife Investment Management, announced today it has completed a majority acquisition of David Del Curto S.A. (“DDC”), on behalf of its third-party clients. The acquisition helps to diversify its growing agricultural portfolio through its Farmland Plus initiative. Farmland Plus assets include integrated crop operations such as transitional processing, storing and packaging for wholesale distribution. The acquisition is in keeping with Manulife Investment Management’s priority to strategically grow its private markets offering across timber, agriculture, infrastructure, real estate, private equity and credit.
David Del Curto, S.A. is a leading Chilean fruit production, packing and export company, which produces over ten different fruit types across eleven farms, while also managing one of the largest nurseries in the country. It also operates three packing facilities with a capacity of nine million boxes of fruit. DDC will continue to be led by Fernando Cisternas, the current CEO, and the management team, who will oversee day-to-day operations and key strategic growth projects.
“David Del Curto is a well-respected firm with more than 65 years of success in fruit production and extensive sales relationships throughout Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East,” said Stephen J. Blewitt, global head of private markets, Manulife Investment Management. “The acquisition strengthens and diversifies our existing portfolio as DDC is in a solid position; both currently with market-leading characteristics and for the future with state-of-the-art farmland facilities and opportunity for additional strategic growth.”
“The acquisition of DDC opens a new market for our agricultural clients. Both the company’s track record and Chile’s reputation in the global agricultural markets make this an attractive agricultural investment,” added Oliver S. Williams, CFA, global head of agricultural investments, HNRG.
The acquisition will also benefit from maintaining a connection to the previous ownership. The Corso Group (TCG), the investment unit of the Cortes Solari family office, acquired an ownership stake of DDC in 2005 and in this transaction will maintain a minority stake in the firm. TCG’s experience in managing through Chile’s agricultural cycle and the overall continuity in management expertise will have both tangible and intangible impact on the future success of the company.
“We are very excited to work on the ownership transition with the strong DDC management team that is already in place and value The Corso Group’s continuing partnership ,” said William E. Peressini, CEO, HNRG. “We will also work closely with the existing teams on land stewardship which we anticipate will include redeveloping existing orchards and developing those orchards that have not been under cultivation. Through these efforts we will look to expand DDC’s production, as well as enhance existing and new marketing partnerships, to create additional opportunity.”
Chile benefits from its geographic location and climate, allowing for high value crop production. Because it is located in the Southern Hemisphere, it harvests and markets crops around the world at a time when Northern Hemisphere supplies are low. DDC currently packs and markets fruit for approximately 90 third-party growers as well as fruit from its own farms. In the 2018/19 marketing year, DDC accounted for 1.70% of Chilean fruit volume. DDC sells products to a diverse and global customer base and in the 2018/19 crop year, sold product to nearly 150 customers on four continents. Ninety percent of the total amount of sales are shipped to Europe, North America and Asia.
Fernando Cisternas, CEO, DDC, said, “By joining the Manulife Investment Management and HNRG team, we are able to rely on their extensive agricultural experience to expand our operations and further the reach of the firm. We feel the acquisition will bring tremendous additional resources to our teams and partners.”
HNRG was advised by Jon Pratt, managing director, mergers and acquisitions, Duff & Phelps and Tully & Holland on the transaction.
About Hancock Natural Resource Group
Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) is part of Manulife Investment Management’s comprehensive Private Markets platform, which includes Private Equity and Credit, Infrastructure, Real Estate, Timber and Agriculture. HNRG’s timber division manages approximately 5.6 million acres of timberland across the United States and in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile. HNRG’s agricultural investment group oversees approximately 400,000 acres of prime farmland in major agricultural regions of the United States and in Canada and Australia.
About Manulife Investment Management
Manulife Investment Management is the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. We draw on more than a century of financial stewardship and the full resources of our parent company to serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto, our leading capabilities in public and private markets are strengthened by an investment footprint that spans 17 countries and territories. We complement these capabilities by providing access to a network of unaffiliated asset managers from around the world. We’re committed to investing responsibly across our businesses. We develop innovative global frameworks for sustainable investing, collaboratively engage with companies in our securities portfolios, and maintain a high standard of stewardship where we own and operate assets, and we believe in supporting financial well-being through our workplace retirement plans. Today, plan sponsors around the world rely on our retirement plan administration and investment expertise to help their employees plan for, save for, and live a better retirement.
As of September 30, 2020, Manulife Investment Management had CAD$923 billion (US$692 billion) in assets under management and administration. Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulifeim.com.
Manulife Investment Management US and Europe