Dutch holding acquires Ontario Plants Propagation


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 biological controls, in addition to trusting relationships with its customers.

COFRA is a Swiss-based holding company wholly owned by around 50 descendants of Dutch founders Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer, well known in the Netherlands for founding retailer C&A.

Ontario Plants’ 45-acre greenhouse

Third investment
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 Dutch-based high-tech greenhouse developer, and investment in Intelligent Growth Solutions, a UK-based vertical farming company. technology provider. The three investments reflect COFRA’s emphasis on controlled-environment agriculture, which allows producers to produce healthy food at higher yields while using fewer resources and waste.

The Ontario Plants management team will continue to run the business, under COFRA ownership, from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

Boudewijn Beerkens

Boudewijn Beerkens, CEO of COFRA Holding, said, “Our acquisition of Ontario Plants further underscores COFRA’s commitment to investing in companies that tackle some of the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges.

Robert Poultney

Steve Vanderkooy, President and Co-Founder of Ontario Plants, said, “As Ontario Plants celebrates its 20th year in business, we are very excited to be part of the COFRA family. Since 2002, we have strived to be a trusted and reliable partner for our grower customers and, as founding members of the Vanderkooy family, we are confident that this will continue under COFRA ownership. COFRA will be an outstanding steward of the organization as Ontario Plants continues to grow and meet the emerging needs of the controlled environment agriculture sector.

Rob Poultney, CEO of Ontario Plants, said, “I am proud of what our team at Ontario Plants has accomplished as North America’s premier plant propagator and excited about the opportunities COFRA will bring to our business, to our employees and our customers. Being part of COFRA will accelerate our growth ambitions by providing not only investment, but also access to knowledge and extensive networks in the field of sustainable food and beyond. Our shared, long-term commitment to the controlled-environment agriculture sector and our belief in the power of business to tackle the world’s most important challenges is very exciting. I look forward to working with COFRA to ensure sustainable food production in the years to come.

Cofra acquired Ontario Plants from UK food and agriculture investment group Sunridge, which joined forces with the original family owners of OPPL in 2018. “Since then we have grown the business through significant investments in expanding growth areas and innovative technologies, the highest quality talent across the organization,” said Philipp Saumweber, Managing Partner of Sunridge.

“The successful investment in OPPL embodies Sunridge’s thematic, hands-on and hands-on development approach to partnerships. We have been privileged to help build one of the most sustainable, innovative and market leading greenhouse starter plant suppliers in the world and would like to thank all of the OPPL team members who have worked tirelessly with us to transform the company into a compelling growth platform, which we are confident they will continue to excel under COFRA’s leadership. We wish Rob and the entire OPPL team all the best for the future.”

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