DELANO, CALIFORNIA, McALLEN, TEXAS, and MARTINEZ de la TORRE, MEXICO (April 8, 2016) – Wonderful Citrus, America’s largest integrated grower, shipper and packer of fresh citrus, today announced the acquisition of I. Kunik Company (“I. Kunik”), a major distributor of Persian limes grown in Mexico, and the purchase of the operations of B&S Grupo Exportador, S.A. de C.V. (“B&S”), a major supplier of Persian limes to the worldwide market. As part of the transaction, Wonderful Citrus also acquired nearly 2,000 acres of Persian lime orchards in Mexico, making it the largest lime grower in the country when combined with its existing lime acreage.
These acquisitions, combined with Wonderful Citrus’ existing lime growing operations, confirm the company’s commitment to a vertical integration strategy in the Persian lime market, assuring the highest product quality for customers by controlling all steps in the process from tree to table. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
“The addition of this infrastructure and supply of Persian limes provided by these major acquisitions is a perfect complement to the other citrus varieties we already offer,” said David Krause, President of Wonderful Citrus. “This will enhance our ability to be the ultimate one-stop shop for citrus for our customers across all channels, and round out Wonderful Citrus’ basket of fresh citrus offerings.”
The operations of I. Kunik, located in McAllen, TX, will be renamed “Wonderful Citrus, I. Kunik Division,” and become the center for all Persian lime distribution to the U.S. and Canada by Wonderful Citrus. Strategically located in the Rio Grande Valley close to the U.S.-Mexico border, I. Kunik brings to Wonderful Citrus its long-standing relationships with B&S, other suppliers, and many customers developed over five decades in the business, as well as a 65,000 square foot packing and cold storage facility.
More than 200 I. Kunik employees have joined Wonderful Citrus as part of the deal. The addition of this team will expand Wonderful Citrus’ already robust operations in Texas. Lawrence Kroman, grandson of the founder, Irving Kunik, will continue his role in the business on a consulting basis for at least two years.
Close to 300 B&S employees have also joined Wonderful Citrus as part of the deal. The operations of B&S, located in Martinez de la Torre in Veracruz, Mexico, have been renamed Grupo B&S, and will be managed as a separate division of Wonderful Citrus. As the Grupo B&S division, it will continue to supply and pack Persian limes for export to the U.S. and Canada though I. Kunik, as well as for export to Europe and Asia directly from Mexico. Centrally located in the heart of the five Persian lime-growing states of Mexico, B&S brings to Wonderful Citrus its long-standing relationships with leading growers and third-party suppliers, as well as a 264,000 square foot packing facility. The current B&S CEO will continue his role in the business on a consulting basis for at least two years.
Wonderful Citrus also acquired 1,944 acres of lime orchards in the states of Veracruz and Puebla, Mexico. With the addition of these lime orchards, Wonderful Citrus has a total of 7,100 acres of producing and/or maturing lime orchards in Mexico and is now the largest grower of limes in the country.