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Carlyle Exits Tessara to AgroFresh

Staff writer
July 17, 2023, 10:03 p.m.
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Word count: 343

Carlyle has agreed to sell its majority stake in Tessara, a provider of post-harvest solutions in South Africa, to AgroFresh Solutions.

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Carlyle has agreed to sell its majority stake in Tessara, a provider of post-harvest solutions in South Africa, to AgroFresh Solutions.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. 

Established in 1988, Tessara has grown to become a leader in post-harvest preservation solutions, which it provides to fresh produce growers worldwide.

The company focuses on table grapes, berries and flowers. Today Tessara’s products are supplied in over 30 countries and protect more than $3bn worth of fresh produce annually.  

Carlyle invested in Tessara in 2018 through its Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund (CSSAF).

In 2020, the CSSAF team formed a separate private equity firm, Alterra Capital Partners, which continues to manage CSSAF’s investments including Tessara.

During the ownership period, the Alterra team worked closely with Tessara management to strengthen R&D, launch new products and invest in expanding the capacity of its manufacturing facilities.

Bruce Steen, Partner at Alterra, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Jaco and the rest of the Tessara team. Management’s unwavering focus on reducing food waste combined with their “fresh science” approach to achieving this has seen the business go from strength to strength. I believe Tessara is well-positioned for the future, and I wish the team every success in the next chapter of their journey.” 

“We’re looking forward to bringing onboard the innovative team at Tessara,” said Clinton Lewis, CEO at AgroFresh.

“The acquisition is a perfect fit given Tessara’s and AgroFresh’s alignment on leveraging science-based solutions to advance freshness and quality across the global produce supply chain.”

Jaco Smit, CEO of Tessara, said: “We are proud of the Tessara team and our distinctly South African roots and culture.  We are also humbled and excited to be part of AgroFresh, a leader in the post-harvest Ag-tech space and together we will look to leverage our combined network and innovation resources to build a world-class market leader."

Rabobank served as financial adviser to Alterra and Tessara. White & Case acted as legal adviser for Alterra and Tessara, and Morrison & Foerster and Bowman Gilfillan acted as legal advisers for AgroFresh. 

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