HKW buys fruit and vegetable distributor Fresh Direct Produce


© Fresh Direct Produce Ltd

U.S. private equity firm Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Co (HKW) has acquired Fresh Direct Produce Ltd, a Vancouver-based distributor of fresh, ethnic, tropical, organic and specialty produce.

No financial terms were disclosed.

Founded in 2003, Fresh Direct Produce distributes more than 1,000 fruit and vegetable items to the Western Canadian market. It operates via a fleet of 26 trucks and three distribution facilities.

President and CEO Davis Yung said HKW’s experience expanding businesses organically and through add-on deals makes the investor the “best equipped” to help Fresh Direct Produce realize its growth plans.

PRESS RELEASE

HKW Announces Acquisition of Fresh Direct Produce

December 10, 2018

Indianapolis, IN, – Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company, Inc. (“HKW”), a private equity firm focused on partnering with talented management teams to build world-class companies, announces the acquisition of Fresh Direct Produce, LLC (“Fresh Direct Produce”). Fresh Direct Produce is a distributor of fresh, ethnic, tropical, organic, and specialty produce.

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Fresh Direct Produce distributes 1,000+ fruit and vegetable items to the Western Canadian market. Their services include ripening, grading, machine packaging, and bagging. Fresh Direct Produce has the ability to source hard-to-find specialty fruits and vegetables that are increasing in demand. For additional information on Fresh Direct Produce, please visit their website at www.freshdirectproduce.com.

Davis Yung, President, CEO, and co-founder of Fresh Direct Produce said “After an exhaustive search for the right fit, the team is thrilled to partner with HKW. We feel they are the best equipped to help us realize our future growth plans. HKW is a high-integrity team with extensive firm resources and experience growing businesses organically and through add-on acquisitions. We look forward to continuing to build our platform alongside an experienced Canadian investor in HKW.”

“Davis represents the ideal executive through his drive, extreme dedication to customers, vendors, employees, and his strategic mindset. Fresh Direct Produce is a great addition to HKW’s Health & Wellness business sector and we are excited to partner with Davis and his team,” said John Carsello, Partner HKW.

“Since our first meeting with Fresh Direct Produce, we have been impressed with the team’s thoughtful execution of their strategic plan,” said Tom Shaw, Vice President at HKW. “The business has grown from eleven employees and two trucks in 2003, to over 220 employees, a fleet of 26 trucks, and 3 distribution facilities today, and it is well positioned for continued growth.”

HKW has announced numerous partnerships over the last 12 months. In addition to acquiring Fresh Direct Produce, a few other press releases include: GCR, a provider of professional services and software products to public sector clients; GCR then acquired add-on MB3, a software development company focused on emergency grants management; Indigo Wild, a manufacturer and distributor of bath, skin, home, and cleaning products, including the popular Zum product line; and Urban Armor Gear (UAG), a designer and manufacturer of branded, patented, and rugged protective cases for mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

During this same time frame, HKW has sold several companies; Health Resources, a provider of dental benefit programs; Specialized Desanders, a provider of engineered de-sanding solutions to high-pressure oil and gas wells; and ProAct Services, a company specializing in mobile air and water treatment solutions customized to meet the compliance of specific environmental issues.

HKW Company Description – HKW is a private equity firm founded in 1903 with offices in Indianapolis and New York. Since 1982, HKW has sponsored 60 platform transactions of lower middle-market companies throughout North America, as well as 62 add-on acquisitions. For more information on HKW, please visit www.hkwinc.com.

About Taft – Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP (“Taft”) served as legal advisor to HKW. For more information on Taft, please visit www.taftlaw.com.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance LLC (“PwC CF”) served as financial advisor to Fresh Direct Produce. For information on PwC CF, please visit www.pwc.com. McCarthy Tétrault LLP (McCarthy) served as legal advisor to Fresh Direct Produce. For more information on McCarthy, please visit https://www.mccarthy.ca

Contact: James C. Snyder
(317) 705-8815

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