Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. plans to acquire Atoka Cranberries Inc. in Manseau, Quebec, Canada, from The Bieler Group.
This acquisition will expand Ocean Spray’s manufacturing footprint in Quebec, said to be the second largest and fastest growing cranberry farming region in the world.
This transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.
“This is a strong investment for Ocean Spray and our 700 farmer-owners,” said CEO Randy Papadellis, adding that the co-op’s “brand strength and global marketing reach, coupled with Atoka’s unique product portfolio and location, will benefit all of our farmers and expand the reach of the overall Quebec cranberry industry.”
In addition to acquiring the Atoka brand and processing facility, Ocean Spray intends to purchase The Bieler Group’s freezer and receiving facilities in the coming year. The cooperative also intends to make additional capital investments in these facilities to further increase efficiency and improve yield.
The Bieler Group will retain its cranberry growing operations and become a farmer/owner of the cooperative.
Atoka’s approximately 130 employees will become part of the Ocean Spray manufacturing network, which includes five food plants located in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington and Lanco, Chile, as well as four beverage facilities in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nevada.
“The employees of Atoka and Ocean Spray share a similar culture of quality and customer focus, as well as a unique dedication to increasing demand for cranberries,” said Marc Bieler, chairman and CEO of The Bieler Group. “Bringing together these two businesses is exciting, and we look forward to joining Ocean Spray as a farmer/owner.”
“This acquisition comes exactly 60 years after Quebec growers first joined the Ocean Spray Cooperative in 1958,” added Papadellis. “Our farmer/owners have a long and proud history in Eastern Canada, and partnering with Bieler Cranberries, true pioneers of the Quebec cranberry industry, is a very exciting way to begin the next 60 years.”
Ocean Spray is a agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry growers in the United States, Canada and Chile. Formed in 1930, it is a producer of cranberry juices, juice drinks and dried cranberries and is a leading brand in the North American bottled juice category. The co-op has more than 2,000 employees and nearly 20 cranberry receiving and processing facilities.