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Three Hills announces inaugural transaction from its new Impact strategy marking an investment in Spanish AgriFood Tech leader Hispatec

29 January 2024 Investment Activity

Three Hills (“the Firm”), an innovative investment house and certified B Corporation, is pleased to announce a new investment in Grupo Hispatec Informática Empresarial, S.A. (“Hispatec” or “the Company”), a leading specialist in software and AgriFood Technology (“AgriFood Tech”) for the specialty crops segment. Following a remarkable growth trajectory in recent years, Hispatec is now entering a new phase of development in collaboration with Three Hills as strategic partner, with additional funding available to support new product development and expansion into new markets. This deal marks Three Hills’ third investment in Spain, a core geographic market where the Firm plans to deploy more capital in the coming years. Importantly, this investment also marks the first deal from Three Hills’ new impact platform. 

The Spanish specialty crops market (fruits and vegetables, olives, vineyards, nuts) is the largest in Europe, with a market size of over EUR 30 billion per annum. Hispatec has developed its suite of products in response to the evolving needs of the local agriculture market, and while its largest presence remains in Spain, it has expanded its reach globally over the past five years and serves more than 600 clients worldwide, with a notable and growing footprint in Latin America. Its comprehensive suite of innovative products collectively spans the entire agrifood value chain, from seed to point of sale, making it one of the most complete and specialised range of solutions focused on the specialty crops market.

Hispatec’s products serve as a cornerstone for enhancing the efficiency of its clients’ operations, in turn leading to a reduction in (i) food loss; (ii) water, energy and fertiliser consumption; as well as (iii) greenhouse gas emissions. The Company’s mission is to increase the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production, as well as industrial transformation and distribution, which aligns closely with Three Hills’ own impact thesis, centred on the belief that there is a lockstep between generating environmental and/or social value and positive financial growth.

From meeting the growing global demand for produce, to the increased traceability demand by consumers and regulators, as well as a push for more sustainable products, the market tailwinds for software solutions such as Hispatec’s are vast and ever-growing. Three Hills will work closely with Hispatec’s management and CEO, José Luis Molina, to drive growth through new product development based on these global trends, as well as through strategic M&A notably to support geographic expansion. The Company has already entered into an exciting joint venture in Chile, and the Latin American market overall represents an untapped opportunity for Hispatec, with speciality crops generating an output of more than USD 150 billion per year on a standalone basis.

Marco Anatriello, Partner at Three Hills, commented: “We are thrilled to embark on this new chapter with Hispatec, whose profound sector expertise and innovative product portfolio make it one of the most promising companies in the global AgriFood Tech market. The diverse array of growth opportunities identified, ranging from product streamlining to market expansion in Latin America, align with our vision of creating a lasting impact on the AgriFood Tech sector. Importantly, Spain has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, and we are pleased to provide flexible funding solutions to yet another impactful business in Southern Europe.”

Stefanie Kneer, Head of Sustainability & ESG at Three Hills, added: “The investment in Hispatec is an important milestone for our impact platform, building on the Firm’s history of backing sustainable business models that are primed for long-term growth. Hispatec generates impact by promoting a more cost- and resource-conscious production of fresh agricultural goods, thereby benefiting a much broader community.”

José Luis Molina, CEO of Hispatec, added: “On the back of strong revenue growth, we felt that now was the right time to find a strategic partner to take the business through its next phase of expansion. We believe that Three Hills has the resources and expertise to help us achieve our goal of becoming an even more prominent player in the global AgriFood Tech market. Our growth strategy unfolds in two dimensions. Firstly, we will persist in innovating through new product development, actively contributing to a more efficient and sustainable AgriFood sector, and streamlining the agricultural value chain for growers and agribusinesses. Secondly, on the financial front, we aim for operational enhancements and market expansion to fortify our financial position. This approach reflects our commitment to balance meaningful economic and environmental contributions with solid financial performance, demonstrating that responsible innovation is integral to our sector’s advancement.”