January 31, 2019 - Atlanta, GA – Americold Realty Trust (NYSE: COLD), (the “Company” or “Americold”), the world’s largest owner and operator of temperature-controlled facilities and infrastructure, today announced that the Company has acquired privately-held PortFresh Holdings, LLC (“PortFresh”), a leading temperature-controlled operator servicing fresh produce trade primarily through the Port of Savannah. In connection with its acquisition of PortFresh, Americold plans to build a new 15 million cubic foot state-of-the-art cold storage facility on adjacent land owned by PortFresh. The total cost of the acquisition, including approximately 163 acres of contiguous land, is approximately $35 million. The cost of the planned new build is expected to be between $55 to $65 million. Americold funded the acquisition with cash on hand and expects to fund the development from available capital resources.
“The Port of Savannah is one of the fastest growing ports in the United States and has seen increased traffic of temperature-controlled trade. With this investment, Americold is fulfilling our customers’ requests to expand into this growing market, which provides an efficient and cost-effective solution to meet their import and export needs. We believe this development project represents a significant long term growth opportunity for the Company, as we continue to grow our scale and develop our partnership with the Port of Savannah,” said Fred Boehler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Americold Realty Trust.
The planned new facility will feature 37,000 pallet positions, advanced blast freezing capabilities, and space and infrastructure to support refrigerated-containerized trade. Americold expects to begin construction on the new facility in the first half of 2019, with the opening expected to be in the first quarter of 2020.
The Port of Savannah imported 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo in 2017, a 10.6% increase over 2016, making it the nation’s fourth-largest port, as reported by the 2018 U.S. Ports Report from Descartes Datamyne. The port’s Southern US location, ocean carrier network and access to transportation channels, including to growing markets in South America and Europe, reduces transportation time as compared to Northeastern ports, which require additional trucking and transport. The Port of Savannah continues to expand and has a stated strategy to double its storage capacity with its partners in the next 10 years.
“The Georgia Ports Authority is pleased to welcome Americold to the Savannah market,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “This announcement represents yet another expansion of Savannah’s position as a hub for the handling of cold and chilled cargoes, and complements the port’s continued on-terminal development of refrigerated cargo infrastructure.”
Brian Kastick, PortFresh’s Founder and CEO, has joined Americold with this acquisition and will help to grow the Company’s fresh produce business initiatives. “I am delighted to join the Americold platform at this exciting time. PortFresh has developed the import market for temperature controlled logistics in the Port of Savannah. I believe that Americold’s brand, platform and operational expertise will enhance PortFresh’s capabilities to serve both our existing and new customers,” stated Kastick.
The returns for the development project and acquisition are consistent with the Company’s stated return expectations for such projects upon stabilization.
Americold is the world’s largest owner and operator of temperature-controlled warehouses. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Americold owns and operates 156 temperature-controlled warehouses (as of September 30, 2018), with approximately 928 million refrigerated cubic feet of storage, in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Argentina. Americold’s facilities are an integral component of the supply chain connecting food producers, processors, distributors and retailers to consumers.
This press release contains statements about future events and expectations that constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future financial and operating performance and growth plans, taking into account the information currently available to us. These statements are not statements of historical fact. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations of future results we express or imply in any forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on such statements. Factors that could contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to, risks related to expansions of existing properties and developments of new properties and recently announced development projects, including failure to meet budgeted or stabilized returns in respect thereof and risks related to the method of settlement of the forward sale agreement, and the form and amount of proceeds of such settlement.
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