Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) investment arm Leumi Partners is starting to invest in foodtech. The company will invest NIS 55 million in Vgarden, a producer of vegan cheese and meat alternatives owned by Kibbutz Gan Shmuel and Hadar Food Technology Ltd. The investment will be used to continue product development and to expand Vgarden's international activity.
Leumi Partners, headed by Avi Ortal, has become one of the largest investment bodies in the Israeli economy, with a portfolio valued at NIS 4 billion, mainly focused on energy, retailing, finance, real estate, and technology. Two weeks ago, it bought 20% of security company Team 3 for NIS 65 million. So far this year, it has made investments to the tune of more than NIS 1 billion.
Vgarden produces vegan alternatives to cheese, spreads, butter, baked goods and meat on the basis of pea protein. It markets its products under the brand name "Mashumashu". Sales grew by 50% in 2020 in comparison with 2019, and have more than doubled in the first half of 2021 in comparison with the first half of 2020.
The company already sells its products in Europe, North America, Asia, Russia and Australia. It is setting up a factory to produce vegan cheeses in Australia, under its "Vgarden" international brand name, in partnership with Australia's largest distributor of vegan products, partly using raw materials produced at the factory in Kibbutz Gan Shmuel.
"The foodtech market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world," said Ortal. "It is expected to continue growing over the next decade, with many consumers preferring to consume less meat and dairy foods from animals. The international foodtech market is huge, and is just at the start. Vgarden can become a substantial player in it in the coming years."
Vgarden was represented in the deal by Adv. Sarit Molcho and Adv. Arnon Mainfeld of S. Friedman & Co. Leumi Partners was represented by Adv. Raz Tepper and Adv. Sharon Klein-Manbar of Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 4, 2021
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