2018-10-08

Press release

Growers' cooperative issues 110 hectares of land in ground lease from now on

Royal ZON sells buildings and right to development at Fresh Park Venlo to international real estate developer Hines (Houston, USA)

Venlo, 5 October 2018 - Koninklijke Coöperatieve Telersvereniging Zuidoost Nederland (Royal ZON) from Venlo has reached an agreement with the American real estate and project developer Hines on the acquisition of all the buildings on Fresh Park Venlo, the business park located next to the A73 motorway. With this transaction Royal ZON expands its land position at Fresh Park Venlo, and will issue the land to Hines in perpetual leasehold. Hines also acquired the (re)development rights to Fresh Park Venlo with this transaction. The parties have not disclosed financial details of the transaction.

Fresh Park Venlo houses some 130 companies that together form the spider in the web of one of the key logistic agri-food hotspots in Europe. Over the past decades, Fresh Park Venlo has developed into a central magnet in the fresh produce sector, which is very important for the Dutch economy. In the run-up to the sale to Hines, Royal ZON has been expanding its land and property position at Fresh Park Venlo to 110 hectares and 23 buildings. These 23 buildings have now been completely taken over by Hines.

Managing Director Michiel F. van Ginkel of Royal ZON: "In our view, real estate development is no longer among the company's core tasks. That is why almost two years ago ZON started looking for a strategic, financially strong partner who can take on the necessary further development of Fresh Park Venlo. We have found that strategic partner in Hines".

Ari Franken, financial director of Royal ZON and responsible for real estate: "With the future fragmentation of the business park lurking around the corner, we wanted to sell the buildings and the rights to further development of the site in one go. We are convinced that this will guarantee vitality for Fresh Park Venlo in the long term."

The sale will significantly strengthen Royal ZON's balance sheet, while ground lease income will make an important contribution to the annual operations. Further information on the released resources will be communicated at a later stage; Royal ZON is considering, among other things, investing in a regional incentive and development fund. This is currently being discussed with other parties.

The nine people who are still employed by the Royal ZON real estate organisation will join Hines.

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Note for the editor

About Royal ZON

For more than 100 years, ZON has operated as a distinguished player in the international world of fruit and vegetables. Over the years, ZON has evolved into a leading sales organisation in the Netherlands and beyond.

The cooperative sells fruit and vegetables under the name ZON fruit & vegetables. This activity is supported by a wide range of services for our growers and customers such as marketing, logistics, packaging and quality assurance. The dedicated platform for growers, VanEigenBodem.nl, is the common thread linking ZON's marketing and promotional activities.

Royal ZON is located in Venlo and noted a turnover of €285 million in 2017, with approximately 200 members and 100 employees.

This press release was issued by the Communication & PR department of ZON fruit & vegetables. For this press release (and all others) from ZON, please visit www.royalzon.com. For questions, please call Jos Caubo (Manager Communications & PR.: +31-6-53577874).