Mission Produce™ Establishes Vertical Integration in South Africa, Partners With ZZ2, Cap, and Core Fruit

OXNARD, Calif., Feb. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mission Produce, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVO) (“Mission” or “the Company”) a world leader in sourcing, producing, and distributing fresh Hass avocados with additional offerings in mangos and blueberries, today announced a joint venture with ZZ2 Boerdery (“ZZ2”), one of South Africa’s largest farming companies, and Criterion Africa Partners (“CAP”), a private equity firm developing assets within the forestry value chain in Sub-Saharan Africa. The joint venture company, Selokwe Agri (“Selokwe”), is expected to expand to over 1,000 hectares of avocado orchards in the premium growing region of Limpopo, South Africa.

“As global demand for avocados continues to grow,1 establishing additional sources of owned production through vertical integration is a key element of our sourcing strategy to promote increased supply reliability,” said Steve Barnard, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mission Produce. “South Africa is the 2nd largest exporter of avocados to the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) during the Summer season.1 So, our new investment in the region is expected to support our expansion in export markets, especially in conjunction with the anticipated March opening of our newest forward distribution center in the UK.”

Partnering with ZZ2 and CAP to vertically integrate the Company's operations in South Africa leverages the expertise of each shareholder to maximize the production and distribution potential of the region. CAP established Selokwe as part of its higher and better use (“HBU”) investment strategy, which creates value through the improved utilization of land, water and labor resources in South Africa and increases employment opportunities in its regional communities. In addition, ZZ2 brings its expertise in avocado cultivation and environmentally conscious farming to maintain compliance with CAP’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, including the maintenance of the Global G.A.P. and Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) certifications.

“We look forward to deepening our relationships with some of the most well-established, reputable partners in South Africa, the world’s 8th largest exporter of avocados,”1 said Keith Barnard, Senior Vice President of Sourcing, Mission Produce. “The avocado seasonality of South Africa extends our supply availability by approximately two-to-three months before Peru’s peak season and is expected to bring a long-term benefit in our ability to offer a year-round supply of ripe Hass avocados.”

ZZ2 has currently developed more than 250 hectares of avocados at Selokwe, which are expected to be harvested for the first time this 2023 season. Mission has engaged Core Fruit to manage its logistics and transportation to the European market, where the majority of volume from South Africa is planned for distribution.

“The opportunity to grow the avocado market in Europe is significant– in 2022, the EU’s per capita consumption was 3.3 pounds, compared to the U.S.’s 8.5 pounds,”1 added Steve Barnard. “The addition of a high-quality source to our existing network strengthens Mission Produce’s position as a global market leader and enhances our ability to drive avocado market growth in the EU.”

Mission Produce is vertically integrated in Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, and South Africa, and manages over 5,500 hectares of avocados. For more information about Mission Produce’s growing global marketing and distribution network, visit www.missionproduce.com.

End Notes

  1. FruitTrop Magazine. September-October 2022.

About Mission Produce, Inc.:
Mission Produce is a global leader in the worldwide avocado business. Since 1983, Mission Produce has been sourcing, producing and distributing fresh Hass avocados, and as of 2021, fresh mangos, to retail, wholesale and foodservice customers in over 25 countries. The vertically integrated Company owns and operates four state-of-the-art packing facilities in key growing locations globally, including California, Mexico and Peru and has additional sourcing capabilities in Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa and more, which allow the Company to provide a year-round supply of premium fruit. Mission’s global distribution network includes 12 forward distribution centers that are strategically positioned in key markets throughout North America, China and Europe, offering value-added services such as ripening, bagging, custom packing and logistical management. For more information, please visit www.missionproduce.com.

About Criterion Africa Partners:
Criterion Africa Partners is an independently owned private equity firm investing across the forestry value chain in sub-Saharan Africa since 2010. The firm advises two funds with commitments from prominent institutional investors. www.criterionafrica.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements in this press release that are not historical in nature are forward-looking statements that, within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Words such as "may", "will", "expect", "intend", "plan", "believe", "seek", "could", "estimate", "judgment", "targeting", "should", "anticipate", "goal" and variations of these words and similar expressions, are also intended to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release address a variety of subjects, including statements about our short-term and long-term assumptions, goals and targets. Many of these assumptions relate to matters that are beyond our control and changing rapidly. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurances that our expectations will be attained. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those implied by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including: limitations regarding the supply of avocados, either through purchasing or growing; fluctuations in the market price of avocados; increasing competition; risks associated with doing business internationally, including Mexican and Peruvian economic, political and/or societal conditions; inflationary pressures; loss of one or more of our largest customers; general economic conditions or downturns; supply chain failures or disruptions; disruption to the supply of reliable and cost-effective transportation; failure to recruit or retain employees, poor employee relations, and/or ineffective organizational structure; inherent farming risks; seasonality in operating results; failures associated with information technology infrastructure, system security and cyber risks; new and changing privacy laws and our compliance with such laws; food safety events and recalls; failure to comply with laws and regulations, including those promulgated by the USDA and FDA, health and safety laws, environmental laws, and other laws and regulations; changes to trade policy and/or export/import laws and regulations; risks from business acquisitions, if any; lack of or failure of infrastructure; material litigation or governmental inquiries/actions; failure to maintain or protect our brand; changes in tax rates or international tax legislation; risks associated with the ongoing conflict in Russia and Ukraine; the viability of an active, liquid, and orderly market for our common stock; volatility in the trading price of our common stock; concentration of control in our executive officers, directors and principal stockholders over matters submitted to stockholders for approval; limited sources of capital appreciation; significant costs associated with being a public company and the allocation of significant management resources thereto; reliance on analyst reports; failure to maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting; restrictions on takeover attempts in our charter documents and under Delaware law; the selection of Delaware as the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders; risks related to restrictive covenants under our credit facility, which could affect our flexibility to fund ongoing operations, uses of capital and strategic initiatives, and, if we are unable to maintain compliance with such covenants, lead to significant challenges in meeting our liquidity requirements and acceleration of our debt; and other risks and factors discussed from time to time in our Annual and Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You can obtain copies of our SEC filings on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and the Corporation does not intend to, nor does it assume any obligation to, update or supplement any forward-looking statements after the date hereof to reflect actual results or future events or circumstances.

Jenna Aguilera
Marketing and Communications Manager
Mission Produce, Inc.

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