From the Wires
Major Tomato Growing/Packing Operation to Explore Strategic Options
By: Marketwire .
Feb. 11, 2013 11:03 AM
MULBERRY, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 02/11/13 -- East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc. and the Madonia Family have retained Murray Wise Capital LLC as exclusive financial adviser to explore strategic options, including the possible sale of certain farmland and other assets and a recapitalization/restructuring of its existing operations.
After two years of freezes on its Florida farms in 2010 and 2011, a hurricane on its Virginia farms in 2011 and an influx of cheap tomato imports from Mexico in recent years, the company opted to not grow and pack tomatoes in late 2012 and into 2013. The recent announcement of a new agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and Mexico growers, raising the floor price for tomatoes, will make its operations and assets more attractive to operators and investors, according to Ken Nofziger, president of Murray Wise Capital. Assets include more than 10,000 acres in Florida and Virginia.
"We're entertaining offers on any and all of the assets, which include operating farms, six packing houses and labor housing for more than 1,300 employees. We are also looking for partners for the Madonia Family to continue operating the business," said Nofziger. "Taken as a whole, this is a vertically integrated operation that, with the new pricing agreement in place, presents an interesting opportunity to the right investor."
The Florida land includes 7,100 acres, of which approximately 4,230 are farmable in Hillsborough, Manatee, Martin and Polk counties. The Florida operating farms range from approximately 439 acres to 2,285 acres. Other Florida assets include a 312,000-square-foot packing facility greenhouses and several labor camps near Mulberry.
Virginia assets include 12 operating farms -- all in Accomack and Northampton counties -- with approximately 2,950 total acres (1,780 acres farmable). Operating facilities in the state include the Mappsville Packing House and Labor Camp as well as a large historic estate home and several labor camps.
"There are several other packing facilities in Virginia, as well as Florida and West Virginia. The owners will be seeking offers and proposals for any combination of these assets," said Nofziger.
Murray Wise Capital LLC, headquartered in Champaign, Ill., offers mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, restructuring and valuation advice to processors, producers, manufacturers and dealers of agriculture-related products and services. Individuals seeking additional information may contact Nofziger at 800-607-6888 or visit murraywiseassociates.com.
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