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