VEGPRO INTERNATIONAL, A LEADER IN THE NORTH AMERICAN FOOD INDUSTRY, WELCOMES A NEW MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER
Vision Ridge Partners, an investor in sustainable real assets with a focus on agriculture investments, partners with Vegpro
Sherrington, June 23, 2022 – Vegpro International, which specialises in the growing and packaging of baby lettuce and is the largest producer of fresh vegetables in Canada, announces that, following a rigorous transaction orchestrated by the National Bank of Canada, its new majority shareholder is Vision Ridge Partners, an investor in sustainable real assets with a focus on agriculture investments.
For Gerry Van Winden, which has owned the company since its founding in 1998, the time had come to pass the torch to new majority shareholders who would not only contribute to the company’s continuity and prosperity, but also continue creating wealth in Quebec and in Canada. It was also imperative that the new owners understood Vegpro’s history, and were fully aligned with the company’s culture, mission and values.
“We received many offers, and our choice came down to Vision Ridge Partners”, stated Gerry Van Winden, owner of the company until the recent change of shareholders. “Vision Ridge has demonstrated a strong interest in ensuring the well-being of our employees and in continuing the strong collaboration we have built with our customers, suppliers, and partners. This firm expressed the greatest confidence in our company and products, as well as our team and business model, all of which it believes have a strong growth potential and a guarantee of success. Ownership of the agricultural land has been excluded from the transaction, so Vegpro remains the sole operator as a producer-tenant. The ownership of the land will therefore remain in local hands.”
This change of majority shareholder will have no impact on the job security and the current excellent working conditions of employees, whether they are based in Quebec, British Columbia or Florida. This change was the result of a lengthy and thoughtful process that took into account many factors, including a smooth transition, as few changes as possible in the organisational structure, VegPro’s continuity, as well as a respect for the agri-food leader’s values and culture, including a continued focus on environmentally friendly practices.
Anthony Fantin, Vegpro COO, will take over as President. Mr. Fantin is an experienced associate of the company and will remain a shareholder. “Vegpro’s headquarters remain in Sherrington, Quebec, where it all began 70 years ago with the Van Winden brothers’ move,” said Mr. Fantin. “As Vegpro grows as a business and enters new markets, it will continue to create jobs and wealth in the communities where it is established.”
Justin Goerke, Co-Founding Partner of Vision Ridge, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Vegpro, well-recognized as one of the leading producers of packaged salads in North America with a longstanding track record of operational performance and a culture underpinned by responsibility, integrity, and collaboration. As an investor focused on working with companies generating strong, positive environmental impact, Vision Ridge is pleased to have a likeminded partner in Vegpro who shares these values. We look forward to helping the company build on its decades-long success and continue to strategically grow for the benefit of all Vegpro stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities it serves.”
About Vegpro and its founder:
Vegpro was founded in 1998. It is the largest producer of fresh vegetables in Canada. It specialises in the growing and packaging of baby lettuce, but it also markets a wide range of vegetables grown on their own land. Thanks to their fields in Quebec, in BC and Florida, they can provide their customers with top quality products all year round.
Gerry Van Winden, president and co-founder is very proud of the Quebec-based flagship he has led for over two decades. Today, thanks to Mr. Van Winden’s leadership, Vegpro International is a major player in the North American food industry. His vision has allowed the company to evolve through all the different stages of growth and expansion both nationally (Western Canada) and internationally (Southeastern United States).
About Vision Ridge Partners:
Vision Ridge Partners is a preeminent investor in sustainable real assets that seeks to deliver superior financial returns while driving a positive environmental impact. Founded by Reuben Munger and joined by partners Justin Goerke and George Polk, Vision Ridge manages approximately $2.5 billion, as of June 30, 2021, across its three funds and associated co-investments. Vision Ridge has offices in Colorado and New York. For more information visit https://vision-ridge.com.
Simon Faucher, coordinator, Zone franche
C +1 514 402-3873