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Looye Kwekers and RedStar

Big merger in Dutch tomato industry annulled

It would have created a tomato farm of more than 150 hectares, with a turnover of 180 million euros and focusing on the high-end market completely. The merger between Dutch tomato growers Looye Kwekers and RedStar got cancelled, however. After intensive discussions, no agreement was reached on the control between the shareholders of both family businesses.

On July 5, 2018, both companies announced their intention to merge, based on a joint letter of intent signed on July 3, 2018. In their announcement the two tomato companies, as the main reason for the merger, mention the increase in scale that is taking place in horticulture both on the part of the suppliers and on the part of the buyers.

In this changing market, the two companies wanted to continue to strengthen their position with their brands and thus retain their independent position as a 'company of families', united under the name Looye Kwekers. Both companies regret that the intended merger will not take place.

Jos Looije, on behalf of Looye Kwekers: "It is very unfortunate that our companies do not go together, as there would be benefits for the companies themselves and the customers. We separate with respect. Looye Kwekers now continues as a strong, independent company with a bright future and a clear long-term vision. With our strong brand tomatoes, focus on taste, long-term vision and good people, we will continue to have the ambition in the coming years to provide consumers with the tastiest tomatoes."

Looye Kwekers is known for their Honingtomaten (Honey tomatoes), being one of the first and most highly valued premium brands in the Dutch and German fresh industry. The company has grown to an acreage of 39 hectares in the Netherlands. Looye Kwekers specializes in cherry and vine tomatoes, called 'Honey tomatoes' and 'Joyn'.

Cor van der Kaaij, on behalf of RedStar: "It is unfortunate that the cooperation did not take shape, because both companies fit together well and complement each other perfectly. Despite the opportunities both companies see, we have both opted to go our own way in a respectful way. We continue our beautiful independent company with highly motivated employees to further build our well-known strong brands."

RedStar is the company of the Van der Kaaij family. With an acreage of 90 hectares, operations in the Netherlands and a participation in UK company Thanet Earth, the company is one of the biggest players in the Dutch tomato field. Among their brands are the RedStar Romantic, Vanity, Passion, Tropical, Safari and Sublime. 

Over the past decades Dutch horticulture has to contend with a strong increase in scale. Over the past twenty years, the average size of a tomato company has grown from 1.8 hectares in 2000 to more than 7 hectares in 2018. Mergers currently play an important role in this trend: In 2016, tomato giants Agro Care and Kesgro already decided to join forces. Since then they form a company of more than 150 hectares. Last year, De Kabel and Schenkeveld also announced a merger. From January 1, 2019 they form a company of 58 hectares. Also Dukker and Zwinkels merged on this date, creating a company that's almost 40 hectares.

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