Total Produce Plc, one of Europe’s top fresh produce companies, will acquire majority interest in the Oppenheimer Group in two transactions over the next four years.

The Dundalk, Ireland company announced in a Dec. 17 news release that it has agreed to purchase in two stages 65% of Grandview Ventures Ltd., which trades as the Oppenheimer Group.

“We are very pleased to become shareholders in the Oppenheimer Group,” Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce, said in the release. “This transaction offers us a significant growth opportunity and represents a continuation of the group’s development strategy of acquiring strong businesses in our sector.”

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer had sales of $533 million (USD) in 2011, according to the news release from Total Produce. Adjusted operating profits for Oppenheimer in 2011 were reported at $11.17 million, according to the release, and Oppenheimer’s net assets were pegged at $20.31 million at the sale’s completion.

Total Produce will acquire a 35% share in Oppenheimer in January for an initial cash payment of $15.24 million, according to the release.

If profit targets are met, the release said “an additional consideration” for the initial share purchase will be made.

Additionally, a further 30% share of Oppenheimer will be purchased in 2017 for a price to be determined based on future profits, according to the release.

The total cost of the 65% share is not expected to exceed $40.6 million, according to the Total Produce release.

Total Produce acquiring stake in Oppenheimer GroupJohn Anderson — Oppenheimer chairman, president and chief executive officer — will retain his management role along with the existing management staff, according to the release.

Anderson has entered into a long-term service agreement with Total Produce as part of the transaction and will continue as the 35% shareholder after the 2017 transaction, according to the release.

“Total Produce (is) a partner that strengthens our ability to grow strategically while benefitting our growers and customers as we continue to operate autonomously,” Anderson said in the release.

He said Oppenheimer’s customers should not expect surprises or changes in service.

“If anything, our ‘expect the world from us’ promise will resonate even stronger, thanks to the new synergies we have with Total Produce,” Anderson said in the release.

With most of its focus on Europe, Total Produce operates out of 22 countries and had 2011 sales of more than $3.92 billion (U.S.), according to the release. Total Produce markets more than 280 million cartons of fresh produce annually and employs more than 4,000 people in 100 locations.