Aleia Roses’ new owner chooses a different path

Bankrupt Aleia Roses is now completely taken over by American company Full Moon. The investment company will continue with the existing rose cultivation in the 14-ha large greenhouse in Soria, just north of Madrid. When it comes to distribution however, they want to start looking beyond the Netherlands and sell under the brand name Aleia.

American George Campbell has been leading Aleia Roses on behalf of Full Moon Investments since August. The Spanish media reported that according to Campbell, the previous managers had made lots of mistakes and that he felt that the distribution, which mainly took place via the Aalsmeer branch of Royal FloraHolland, wasn’t efficient enough. He wants to ship the roses (Red Naomi!) directly to the end customers. Not just within Europe, but to North America as well.

The vast majority of Aleia’s roses are still shipped to the auction for now though, partly because price formation has been good recently. At the end of September, a new company was founded in Aalsmeer (Aleia Holland BV) with two of the four people that had been working at the Dutch branch.

Financial problems since 2018

The more than 14-ha large Spanish nursery, founded in 2016 for around 50 million euros, got into trouble when their (foreign) main investor left in 2018. Things were looking better at the beginning of 2019, but in October of that year, Aleia Roses was granted suspension of payments and they’ve had an administrator at the helm since then.

Three interested parties subsequently negotiated a takeover with the curator, but in all three cases, the deal fell through at the last moment.

Full Moon Investments was initially part of a small group of investors that made a bid in July 2020. Floribusiness spoke with one of them at that time. The Spaniard mentioned opportunities to optimise transport and reduce costs, without having to compromise on the quality of the roses.

Discussions with suppliers were ongoing. But eventually, the American investment company was the only party left. Apparently, they’re paying around 8 million for the takeover, enough to pay all creditors. The 260 employees can stay on for at least two years, which was one of the conditions of the takeover.

No cannabis

Full Moon Investments is active in the cannabis industry and it is no secret that they want to expand to Europe. However, they don’t currently hold a license to grow cannabis in Spain, and the greenhouse in Soria in its current state wouldn’t be suitable for it either.

In the Spanish media, Campbell stressed that for now, they’ll be growing roses in the greenhouse in Soria. This is also in line with what we heard in July. “Things are up and running; why would we destroy the roses?” said the Spanish investor we spoke to last summer. What kind of quality Campbell is aiming for, and which markets exactly Aleia wants to serve, isn’t clear yet.

Click here to read more on Aleia.

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