Massive M&A Deal Highlights Interest In Colombian Food Sector

With his recent acquisition of Nutresa, Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski has expanded his business empire. But the effects of this deal go far beyond Gilinski's portfolio.

Viola Manisa
Verified writer
July 12, 2023

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The Colombian food industry is gaining more and more attention.

In a significant development within the Colombian business landscape, billionaire investor Jaime Gilinski has recently acquired Nutresa, a leading Colombian food business. This acquisition has drawn considerable attention due to its potential implications for both Gilinski's portfolio and the Colombian food industry as a whole.

Nutresa, a well-known Colombian food business, has a strong presence in various food categories, including processed meats, chocolates, coffee, and biscuits. It enjoys a dominant market position in Colombia and has expanded its operations into numerous countries in the Latin American region such as Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. The company also has a presence in the United States, mostly through its chocolates and sweets division.

Gilinski, for his part, has had his eyes on Nutresa and other Colombian agrifood companies for some time now. Since November of 2021, the Gilinski Group has been putting pressure on GEA (Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño, a powerful business conglomerate) to sell off its stake in Nutresa through tendered offers. Backed by the Royal Group of Abu Dhabi, Gilinski finally succeeded in his takeover in Colombia’s largest food business. Although the details of the deal are still being hammered out, reports suggest that the acquisition will be worth around $2.2 billion.

So what does this mean for Colombia? Is this just the first of a major wave of institutional investment in the country? And how will this acquisition transform the country and its agriculture industry? In this article, we will answer these pressing questions.

A Long Time Coming

Gilinski’s background (not to mention his new relationships with the Saudi royal family and its massive capital deployment capacity) ties in very well with his long-term investment goals. By entering the food industry, Gilinski gains exposure to a stable and resilient sector that is relatively insulated from economic downturns. Furthermore, the acquisition presents opportunities for synergies with Gilinski's existing investments, such as retail chains, by cross-promoting and cross-selling products.

Nutresa's international presence opens doors for Gilinski to expand his global reach. The company has successfully entered markets across Latin America, the United States, and Europe. Leveraging Nutresa's distribution networks and brand recognition, Gilinski can explore new growth avenues beyond Colombia, tapping into the increasing demand for Latin American food products worldwide.

Nutresa's strong market position in Colombia, combined with its continuous innovation and product development capabilities, positions it for future growth. Gilinski's acquisition allows him to capitalize on the company's existing market share while driving further expansion through product diversification, research and development, and potential acquisitions of complementary businesses.

There’s no doubt that Gilinski’s acquisition of Nutresa will be a big winner for him and his backers. But the biggest winner of all may be the Colombian food industry and its connection to international markets.

Colombia On The Rise

The Gilinski acquisition is a sign of the times. Savvy international investors are quickly becoming aware of the immense and largely undiscovered value of the Colombian food industry, which is poised for exponential growth going forward. A recent report from the American-Colombian Chamber of Commerce predicts that Colombian agricultural exports to the United States will increase by roughly 250% over the next several years.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Colombia is already rising at breakneck speed, up over 80% in the past few years according to Procolombia, the country’s exports and investment promotions agency. Driven by the high concentration of natural resources, ideal climatic conditions, and a highly strategic geographical location, international investors are flooding to the country in unprecedented numbers.

Notably, Gilinski´s Saudi backers have expressed particular interest in the country. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, presented a letter of credit of up to 50% of the value of the acquisition, signaling that the Arab world may be interested in a large-scale foray into Latin American agribusiness. With Colombia as an entry point, the vast cash reserves of countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar could soon target agribusiness assets in Colombia and other LATAM countries at a much greater scale.

This capital injection will allow Colombia to scale up its access to international markets and to advance its position as a major player in the global ag industry. Now, other international investors are anxious to know how this development could benefit their portfolios.

A Stronger Agribusiness Sector

Gilinski’s acquisition may lead to increased consolidation within the Colombian food industry. Coupled with his financial resources and expertise, this development could potentially fuel further acquisitions and strategic partnerships. This consolidation may reshape the competitive landscape and drive industry-wide innovation and efficiency.

This bodes extremely well for participants in Colombia’s agriculture sector. Increased international attention will increase the valuation of agribusiness assets across many sectors and industries. Especially as Colombia increases its agriculture exports, participants who entered the market early will be especially rewarded. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.

That’s not to mention the fear-of-missing-out factor that is so pervasive among the institutional investment community. With Gilinski leading the way, it’s not difficult to imagine other major players injecting high amounts of capital into the Colombian agribusiness sector. Gilinski’s experience and expertise will no doubt contribute to the strengthening of the domestic market, as well as increased access for Colombian agrifood companies to international markets as well. With a deal like this, everyone wins.


Jaime Gilinski's acquisition of Nutresa represents a strategic move that aligns with his investment philosophy of diversification and growth. The acquisition provides him with a strong foothold in the Colombian food industry, access to international markets, and the potential for synergies across his existing portfolio.

But it isn’t just Gilinski who will benefit. A major deal like this can be a catalyst for larger and more frequent allocations from the international investment world. And value like that will reach many corners of the Colombian agriculture sector, especially those holding real assets such as farmland.

To learn how Farmfolio can help you access assets that will benefit from the Nutresa acquisition and future FDI inflows into Colombia, get in touch with our team by scheduling a session using the link below.

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