(Press Release) Aqua Capital, a private equity fund focused on midsized agribusiness, food and logistics companies in Brazil and the Southern Cone, just closed the merger of Comfrio Soluções Logísticas and Stock Tech Logística. After owning a co-controlling stake in Comfrio for three years, Aqua acquired the remaining equity as well as 100% of StockTech and subsequently combined the businesses. The resulting group becomes the largest cold storage group in Brazil, with over 600,000 cubic meters capacity.
At the same time, the fund announces AGRO Merchants Group has entered the capital base and joined the Board of Directors of the new group by acquiring a minority stake in the combined entity.
“We are glad to be driving industry consolidation through Comfrio’s operational capabilities, adding Stock Tech’s unique services and diversified customer portfolio, to create the largest national footprint. We have the potential to become the leader in South America,” said Sebastian Popik, Managing Partner of the investment company and chairman of the Board of the new logistics group. “Having AGRO on-board validates the attractiveness of this platform, and brings best-in-class global capabilities,”Popik said.
AGRO’s investment in Comfrio and Stock Tech marks its first investment in Brazil and Latin America, a focus area for AGRO going forward. AGRO and its financial sponsor, Oaktree Capital Management, have made 11 acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe since March 2013, and now begin their expansion in Latin America.
“The merger of Comfrio and Stock Tech provides us with the means to meet uncovered needs in the country,” says Evandro Calanca, executive officer of the new group and Operating Partner at Aqua Capital. “AGRO’s investment in the business platform, in turn, makes it clear how relevant the business built by Aqua Capital is, and further strengthens the thesis of adding capacity to Comfrio and Stock Tech, with which we intend to double our market share in the next four years,” he said.
With this transaction, Aqua Capital expands its portfolio and reaffirms its focus: growing midsized companies within the agribusiness, food and logistics value chain in Brazil and the Southern Cone. Founded in 2009, the investment company currently controls four companies.
The investment philosophy of Aqua Capital is to seek positions in companies with leadership potential in its target sectors. “We believe in true and advantageous partnerships. We seek companies that are typically family-owned, to which we can offer our support through a management team that combines operational expertise and an entrepreneurial approach,” said Popik.
Investors of Aqua Capital also include endowments and funds of funds, and the company has nearly USD 200 million under management. The total investment in the Comfrio-Stock Tech transaction was USD 45 million.