Costa Group appoints new CEO

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Costa Group, Australia’s leading fresh produce company is very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Marc Werner as its new CEO, effective 1 March 2024. Marc commenced with Costa in August 2022 in the role of Chief Operating Officer and was appointed Deputy CEO in July 2023.

Interim Costa CEO, Harry Debney who will be finishing in his role as of 29 February 2024, noted that during Marc’s time with Costa, he has earned the respect of all he has worked with and has established himself as someone recognised for his integrity, work ethic and strong leadership abilities.

“The company looks forward to Marc’s leadership in further growing the business and achieving continued success, I wish him the very best for the future,” said Mr Debney.

Quotes attributable to Marc Werner

“Given the long and successful history of the Costa business, I am honoured to have been appointed to such an important role, and it is a great privilege to follow in the footsteps of all those who have gone before me, including Harry, and Frank Costa.

“Over the past 18 months I have really focused on developing a detailed understanding of the fresh produce industry, to ensure I can effectively lead the business and optimise its success. A key to this will be continued investment in innovation, to both build our competitive advantage and enhance our product offering.

“I look forward to working closely with our key customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure we can further build on these already productive relationships.

“Costa’s people are our greatest asset, and I intend to not only identify and promote their capabilities and key talents, but to continue to position Costa as the employer of choice in the fresh produce industry.

“I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Harry Debney and thank him for his support and mentoring. On behalf of Costa, I wish Harry and his wife Jane all the very best for whatever the future holds for them.”

For further information contact: Michael Toby – Corporate Affairs Manager T: +613 8363 9071

Costa Group enters new ownership phase as experienced Consortium takes control

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Costa Group has achieved another important milestone in its more than 120-year history with the company’s ownership officially changing hands today (February 26), after being delisted from the ASX earlier this month.

Costa’s shareholders voted in favour of accepting an offer of AUD3.20 per share from an experienced North American based consortium made up of Paine Schwartz Partners, Driscoll’s Inc. and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.

Started by the Costa family, in Geelong Victoria, Australia in the late 1800s, the business over many decades grew into a leading global horticultural company, recognised as having a unique and valuable portfolio of premium quality fresh produce, including the growing, marketing and supply of blueberries, glasshouse tomatoes, citrus, avocados, mushrooms and table grapes.

As of February 2024, Costa has a production and grower network spanning every state of Australia, China, Morocco, and southern Africa. Costa products are sold into numerous countries around the world, including throughout Europe, UK, Asia, and North America.

Costa is also recognised as being an industry leader in the development of genetics and new plant varieties, especially blueberries. In 2023 alone, Costa launched a record four new blueberry varieties with a strong forward pipeline of products to fuel the company’s growth trajectory.

Paine Schwartz Partners has a long and established track record of investing in the agricultural and food supply chain, which includes a prior equity stake in Costa. Over the past few decades, the firm has invested $5.7 billion in food and agribusiness. This includes not only companies that grow premium fresh produce, such as Monterey Mushrooms, but also ag tech companies, including AgroFresh.

Driscoll’s are well known to Costa, having successfully operated joint ventures together in Australia and China. Driscoll’s are a world leader in the breeding and marketing of berries. They will bring considerable knowledge and resources to the business, and the capability to potentially further the expansion of Costa’s footprint.

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation is a major global institutional investor, with C$233.0 billion in gross assets under management as of March 31, 2023. Their investment in agricultural assets includes an ownership stake in Viterra and mushroom and citrus businesses.

Costa and Driscoll’s will be working on specific projects to grow the global berry business, in addition to their existing arrangements in China, Australia and the Americas which will continue unaffected.

“The Costa team is looking forward to the future and working with its new owners, who given their extensive background of investing in and operating high quality agricultural assets, are committed to further building the business’s capacity and ensuring its ongoing success,” said Costa Group’s Interim CEO, Mr Harry Debney.

For further information contact: Michael Toby – Corporate Affairs Manager T: +613 8363 9071