DCOOP Group acquires 20% stake in US olive producer Bell-Carter

DCOOP includes 180 co-ops with 75.000 families which produce 100,000 tons a year

Agri-food business DCOOP has acquired a 20% stake in Bell-Carter, the largest table olive producer in the US and the second largest in the world.

As part of the deal, DCOOP’s USA branch, Acorsa USA, will be integrated into the Bell-Carter structure, with the aim of strengthening its position in the USA market.

Bell-Carter produces and sells over half of all California olives, processing between 40,000 and 60,000 tons of olives each year.

The DCOOP Group includes 180 co-ops with 75,000 families and two production plants, which process a total of 100,000 tons a year.

In 2017, the value of the co-op’s total exports amounted to €541m, a 10.5% increase from 2016. The co-op exports to 72 countries, the USA being its third biggest olive oil market after Europe and Japan.

Last year, DCOOP, which is the largest olive oil co-operative in the world, signed an agreement with Pompeian Group, a Baltimore-based importer and manufacturer of olive oil. The deal increased the companies’ stakes in one another from 20% to 50%.

A spokesperson for the co-op said: “We are farmers and we want our products to be marketed all over the world. The US is an important market where we have already been selling olives and oil, as part of the Pompeian project.

“With this agreement, we intend to encourage the consumption of more olives in the US and we believe the alliance with leading company Bell-Carter will help in that respect. We are very excited about the partnership and we now have to work together to drive olive consumption in the USA and around the world.”

The collaboration with Bell-Carter comes at a time when Spanish olives are facing total taxes of 34.75% to enter the USA’s market. By buying a share in the business, DCOOP has ensured it will continue to grow in the USA.

According to Copa Cogeca, the organisations representing European farmers and agri co-operatives, Spanish imports have already faced additional duties totalling 21.6% since January this year, causing Spanish exports to the USA to drop by as much as 42.4% in the first quarter of 2018.

Agrosevilla, a Spanish group of 12 co-operatives and 4,000 producers, announced restructuring plans to cope with the USA’s tariffs. The group is Spain’s largest olive oil co-operative exporter.

Related: Copa Cogeca calls on US to drop tariffs on olives