Ready Pac Produce and Tanimura & Antle say they have signed a letter of intent to merge Tanimura & Antle's Salad Time value-added business with Ready Pac.

The senior officers of the company will be Dennis Gertmenian, chairman, Larry Kern, president and CEO, and Craig Delaney, executive VP and CFO. Rick Antle will join Ready Pac's Board of Directors.

In the deal, Salad Time's fresh-cut salad and vegetable business covering the retail and foodservice sectors in the U.S. and Canada would merge with Ready Pac's operations. The deal would include Salad Time's four company-owned processing facilities, located in Salinas, Montreal, Jackson, Ga. and Plymouth, Ind. Tanimura & Antle's successful fresh produce commodity business would continue to operate as a separate company under current Tanimura & Antle management.

“This partnership brings together the strong customer and consumer-oriented businesses of two great companies,” commented Dennis Gertmenian, chairman and Founder of Ready Pac. “The strong value-added business that Salad Time has built along with the locations of their processing facilities are an excellent complement to Ready Pac's current portfolio of products and facilities. This will allow us to better serve the needs of existing and new customers throughout North America and provide new opportunities for our valued associates.”

‘Premier company’

Added Larry Kern, president and CEO of Ready Pac, “this merger will create a premier value-added company. We are eager to integrate Salad Time's state-of-the-art facilities with our production capabilities and expand our innovative product offering across the U.S. and Canada.”

“The Tanimura and Antle families have known Dennis Gertmenian and his family for many years,” said Rick Antle, CEO of Tanimura & Antle. “We have great respect for Dennis and Ready Pac and are excited to be joining forces to grow our two businesses. This merger gives us the opportunity to focus more on our core business of being a world class grower and supplier of fresh produce. And we look forward to working with our employees to combine our skills and resources with those of Ready Pac in serving our growing group of outstanding customers.”

Ken Silveira, president of Tanimura & Antle, stated that he “welcomes the opportunity and challenge of supplying and supporting Ready Pac. We and our growers are second to none and are excited by the prospect of contributing to the success of the integrated Ready Pac business.”

The deal is subject to final approval by regulatory agencies and the boards of both companies and is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2004.