Vanguard International, Inc. (Vanguard) today announced that it has received a strategic investment from Blue Road Capital, L.P. (Blue Road), an investment fund focused on the agriculture sector and managed by Blue Road Management, L.P. In conjunction with this investment, a newly-formed entity, The Vanguard International Group, L.P. was created to acquire the business operations of Vanguard International. As part of this transaction, Blue Road has agreed to invest up to $250mm into The Vanguard International Group to allow The Vanguard International Group to grow its existing business and make strategic acquisitions of fruit and vegetable production assets throughout the world, as well as other complimentary businesses.
Founded in 1991, Vanguard is one of the world’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and sales organizations headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, USA, with branch offices in Santiago, Chile; Stellenbosch, South Africa; Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Madrid, Spain; and Genoa, Italy. Vanguard’s sales for its fiscal year ended December 31, 2014 were approximately US $150mm.
Blue Road Management, L.P. is an independent private equity firm focused on the acquisition and development of agricultural-focused businesses. Blue Road’s strategy concentrates on the acquisition of control positions in Americas-based agricultural supply chain and production companies, partnering with management teams to build enterprise value beyond intrinsic underlying asset value. Blue Road’s partners have an extensive track record of over 60 years investing in private equity and commodity-focused businesses, including having raised and invested over $2 billion in equity in companies across the commodity value chain, from production, processing, storage and logistics to marketing, sales, and distribution.
Craig Stauffer, Co-founder and CEO, and Guy Kisling, Co-founder and CFO, along with all other Vanguard employees, will continue in on-going operations. Stauffer will be The Vanguard International Group’s CEO and Kisling will be the Chief Analytics Officer and CFO.
“We are very pleased with our strategic partnership with Blue Road, and believe Blue Road will enable us to continue to grow Vanguard’s global business and to develop a global vertically-integrated fresh fruit and vegetable organization, from farm to customer,” said Craig Stauffer. “Furthermore, we expect to close on our firstproduction acquisitions in the near future.”
Guy Kisling said, “Vanguard has developed an awesome business platform on which to build a vertically integrated supply solution to service our growers and supply our customers with quality-assured fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world.”
Blue Road partner, John Duryea, said, “We are excited to be investing with a company like Vanguard. They have earned a terrific reputation serving growers and customers throughout their supply chain and, with our capital investment and the company’s vertical integration, expect to enhance these relationships.” Tim Clarke, Vanguard’s COO, said, “This is a very exciting time for us as we join together with Blue Road to form the Vanguard International Group. With Vanguard International, Inc. as the spring board, we are exceptionally well positioned for immediate growth that will allow us to improve our supply capabilities for our customers globally, and enhance our abilities to supply the right fruit at the right time through our existing supply and service relationships.”
Keri Falkner, Vanguard’s Vice President of Finance and Operations, said, “Since 1991, we have focused on sourcing and delivering quality fresh fruits and vegetables, while also developing state of the art systems and business processes to provide best-in-class service to our customers, growers, and business partners in a leading edge manner. Blue Road’s investment is the next step in ensuring that we continue to deliver unparalleled products and services to our partners around the world.”