COFRA has acquired Ontario Plants Propagation, a supplier of starter plants for hydroponic and organic greenhouse growers in North America.
Founded in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada in 2002, Ontario Plants is a supplier of starter tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers in Canada and the United States. The company has developed a sophisticated propagation process with exemplary hygiene standards and bio-controls, in addition to trusted relationships with its customers.
COFRA is a Swiss-based holding wholly owned by some fifty descendants of Dutch founders Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer, well-known in Netherlands for finding retailer C&A.
The 45-acre greenhouse of Ontario Plants
The acquisition of Ontario Plants is COFRA’s third investment in the sustainable food system in the past five months, following the acquisition of Dalsem, a high-tech greenhouse developer based in the Netherlands, and investment in Intelligent Growth Solutions, a UK-based vertical farming technology provider. All three investments reflect COFRA’s focus on Controlled Environment Agriculture, which enables growers to produce healthy food at higher yields while using fewer resources and waste.
Ontario Plants’ management team will continue to lead the business, under COFRA’s ownership, from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
Boudewijn Beerkens, CEO of COFRA Holding, said: “Our acquisition of Ontario Plants further underlines COFRA’s commitment to investing in businesses that are tackling some of the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges."
Steve Vanderkooy, Chairman & Co-Founder of Ontario Plants, said: “As Ontario Plants marks its 20th year in business, we are very pleased to become part of the COFRA family. We have focused since 2002 on being a trusted and reliable partner to our grower clients and, as the founding Vanderkooy family members, we are confident this will continue under COFRA’s ownership. COFRA will be an exceptional steward of the organization as Ontario Plants continues to grow and meet emerging needs within the Controlled Environment Agriculture sector.”
Rob Poultney, CEO of Ontario Plants, said: “I am proud of what our team at Ontario Plants has achieved as North America’s number one plant propagator and excited by the possibilities that COFRA will bring to our company, our people, and our customers. Being part of COFRA will accelerate our growth ambitions by providing not only investment but also access to extended knowledge and networks in sustainable food and beyond. Our shared long-term commitment to the Controlled Environment Agriculture sector and belief in the power of business to address the world’s most important challenges is very exciting. I look forward to working with COFRA to ensure the production of sustainable food in the years ahead.”
Cofra acquired Ontario Plants from UK specialist food and agriculture investment group Sunridge, who partnered with the original family owners of OPPL in 2018. "Since then, we developed the business through significant investments in growing area expansions and innovative technology, product diversification and attracting the highest quality talent throughout the organization", said Philipp Saumweber, Managing Partner of Sunridge.
“The successful investment in OPPL epitomizes Sunridge’s thematically driven, hands-on and active development approach to partnerships. We have been privileged to help build one of the most sustainable, innovative and market leading suppliers of greenhouse starter plants globally and would like to thank all the OPPL team members who worked tirelessly with us to transform the Company into a compelling growth platform, which we are confident will continue to excel under COFRA’s ownership. We wish Rob and the entire OPPL team all the best as they move forward."
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