The La Portella company thus incorporates a new plant and 600 hectares of fruit trees, in addition, it already had farms in Aragon and Extremadura
The Català Group, from La Portella, has bought the assets of the fruit farm JM Los Frutales, located in Villena. With this, the Lleida company continues with its expansion and strengthens itself as one of the main fruit groups in the State. The Lleida company thus incorporates 600 hectares of apple, pear, plum, cherry, quince and peach trees, with computerized irrigation systems, from the Alicante company. In addition, it acquires the 7,400m2 fruit plant, equipped with fruit sorting machines and cold rooms.
JM Los Frutales belongs to a family business group that was born in the footwear sector and that in 1972 entered the fruit industry. For its part, Grupo Català was born more than half a century ago and produces and markets sweet fruit under three own brands. It has manufacturing centers in Lleida, Mérida and Tenerife, where both its own production and that acquired from third parties arrive.
According to the public data of the company, only in the province of Lleida it has farms with 310 hectares of fruit trees in Albesa, Torrelameu, Castelló de Farfanya, Gerb, Òs de Balaguer and Serós. In Aragon it also has another 85 hectares, while four more from Extremadura add up to 623. That is, its farms until the acquisition totaled more than a thousand hectares, and now they will exceed 1,600 hectares.
The Lleida company maintains an important investment policy. In the last year it allocated 5.2 million euros distributed among its interests in Lleida, Fraga and Don Benito (Badajoz) to expand and improve its production, as well as renew machinery and packaging. Specifically, it allocated 2.5 million euros to Lleida to plant a farm as well as the installation of anti-hail nets, a system that represents an average cost of € 15,000 per hectare but is increasingly gaining ground in the Lleida sector. In Fraga, Grupo Català invested another 900,000 €, with the aim of the varietal reconversion of its fruit trees and adapting them to the taste of consumers.
For this year 2011, the group had planned an investment of 8 million euros in the improvement of facilities and the launch of a project to increase the profitability of some varieties of sweet fruit.
Grupo Català, also known for its Catafruit brand, is one of the two integrated suppliers of the Mercadona distribution chain from Lleida and its investments represent a commitment to adapting to consumer demands and improving its efficiency. Mercadona acquired a total of 57 million kilos of fruit from Catafruit last year, which it marketed in its 1,310 establishments distributed throughout the Spanish geography.