Yakima Valley and National Grape Announce Intent to Merge
Concord, MA, July 7, 1997
The Boards of Directors for Yakima Valley Grape Producers, Inc. and National Grape Co-operative announced to their members today that they have signed a Letter of Intent to combine their assets into one co-operative.
Yakima Valley's Board Chairman, Jim Leidig, said, "Yakima Valley Grape Producers, Inc. is a 63-year old grower co-operative with a long tradition of providing quality bulk grape and other fruit juices to industrial markets around the world. The National Grape Co-operative and their marketing arm, Welch's, have a similar 128-year tradition of providing value-added branded products primarily to the retail trade. The potential combination of these two well-respected grower co-operatives results in a much more efficient enterprise better able to serve broader markets."
The National Grape Co-operative President, Fred Kilian, adds, "The merger should prove to be particularly beneficial to the members of the two grower co-operatives who will undoubtedly see a more secure market for their grapes and higher proceeds as broader markets are more efficiently served. The beneficiaries of this merger will also include the customers, employees, and suppliers of both companies."
Ongoing discussions regarding the merits of the merger continue, and the two cooperatives are hopeful that they will have a definitive agreement in the near future.
Yakima Valley, which produces Concord grapes and apples, had sales last year of $15 million. Welch's, the world's leading marketer of Concord and Niagara grape-based products, had sales last year of $551 million.