U.S.: Gerawan and Wawona merge to create stone fruit leader

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U.S.: Gerawan and Wawona merge to create stone fruit leader

California-based Gerawan Farming and Wawona Packing have completed a merger, creating a leading stone fruit company.

Paine Schwartz, an existing investor in Wawona, is partnering with both companies to facilitate the transaction.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Both Gerawan and Wawona are third-generation family businesses. Gerawan is a stone fruit industry pioneer and owner of varieties marketed under the Prima brand. Wawona is a California-based stone fruit supplier and a leader in the organic segment of the market.

The companies say the merger creates "an enhanced platform for growth and innovation".

Dan Gerawan will be the CEO and largest shareholder of the merged entity. Brent Smittcamp, current Executive Chairman of Wawona, will also remain a significant shareholder. Leaders from both companies will make up the management team.

“At Gerawan, innovating on a large scale to grow, pack and ship the world’s best fruit has been key to our success, and those efforts have always hinged on investing in our employees," Gerawan said.

"These same values underpin Wawona’s success. This merger is an exciting next step to unlock the full potential of both companies."

Smittcamp said: “Over the last several years, we have focused on accelerating Wawona’s growth by building on the inherent strengths of our business and management team.

"Our acquisition last year of Burchell Nursery Inc. was one example, and now this historic merger with Gerawan takes it to yet another level. We are eager to bring the benefits of this merger to our employees, suppliers and customers.”

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