Mahindra ShubhLabh Services Ltd (MSSL), part of the $16.7 billion Mahindra Group, has signed a joint venture agreement with UNIVEG, a Belgium-based €3.2 billion fresh produce company. MSSL and UNIVEG will hold 60 and 40 per cent equity, respectively, in the JV.
The venture will source fresh produce for domestic consumption and set up a supply chain facility for its distribution across India.
Dr Pawan Goenka, executive director and president, automotive and farm equipment sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra, said, “Going forward, the two companies plan to strengthen their partnership by improving the fresh produce supply chain through various interventions and investments across India."
Founded in 1987, UNIVEG Group is a worldwide supplier of fresh produce, including fruits & vegetables, flowers & plants and fresh logistics. UNIVEG has a network of 32 distribution centres in Europe and a global customer base spread across six continents. The company employs more than 8,000 people globally and also operates in agro-based sectors such as transport and logistics.
Hein Deprez, executive chairman and major shareholder, UNIVEG Group, said, “This association (has) the right mix of market presence and farmer connect. Mahindra’s reach, together with our proven technical expertise across six continents and 32 distribution centres in Europe, will be beneficial for all stakeholders.”
The JV will benefit from the global expertise of both companies where UNIVEG will provide technical knowhow in quality control, post-harvest handling of fresh produce, the ripening process and farm agronomy practices.
In November 2013, Mahindra Group launched its fresh fruit brand, Saboro, for Indian consumer offering a wide range of fresh fruit such as apples, grapes, bananas and other imported fruits. Fruits from this JV will also be marketed under the Saboro brand.
SMC Capitals Ltd was the strategic advisor to Mahindra & Mahindra Group for this transaction.
Headquartered in Mumbai, the Mahindra Group employs more than 180,000 people in over 100 countries. The group operates in key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology and vacation ownership. In addition, it enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel, commercial vehicles and two-wheeler industries.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)