California Olive Ranch is the largest American olive oil producer.

The combined company will have revenues in excess of $80 million.

California Olive Ranch, the largest American olive oil pro­ducer, announced its acqui­si­tion of Lucini Italia, a pro­ducer and importer of Italian extra vir­gin olive oils.

In the equity trans­ac­tion the seller, Molinos USA, retains a minor­ity share in the com­bined com­pany. California Olive Ranch (COR) and Lucini Italia will con­tinue to oper­ate under their own labels, accord­ing to a state­ment released today. The com­pany will main­tain its head­quar­ters in Chico, California.

California Olive Ranch CEO Gregg Kelley said, “We see strong growth in the pre­mium seg­ment in com­ing years and we think these two brands are best posi­tioned to pros­per as con­sumers trade up to bet­ter qual­ity.”

Gregg Kelley

“Like wine, olive oils vary accord­ing to soil, cli­mate and olive vari­etal,” Kelley explained. “Our merger with Lucini will allow us to offer the American olive oil con­sumer a wider vari­ety of trust­wor­thy oil. This trans­ac­tion also allows us to enter the sauce, vinai­grette, and vine­gar cat­e­gories with Lucini’s port­fo­lio of qual­ity prod­ucts.”

California Olive Ranch is the top-sell­ing brand of American extra vir­gin olive oil and Lucini is among the top brands of Italian extra vir­gin olive oil. Their com­bined shares would make them the fourth largest brand in the coun­try with 4.45 per­cent of U.S. retail sales and rev­enues in excess of $80 mil­lion in 2015, the state­ment said.

Founded in 1998, California Olive Ranch is a pri­vately owned com­pany inspired by new grow­ing and har­vest­ing meth­ods which enable the pro­duc­tion of high qual­ity mod­er­ately priced extra vir­gin olive oil. It is the largest pro­ducer of extra vir­gin olive oil in the United States, and sales have more than quadru­pled since 2010, accord­ing to a state­ment.

Founded in 1997, Lucini Italia olive oils are tra­di­tion­ally pro­duced using hand-har­vested olives milled in small batches at local mills to ensure fresh­ness. This process allows for dif­fer­ent oil vari­etals with dif­fer­ent fla­vor pro­files, the com­pany said. Lucini Italia received Gold Awards at the 2013 and 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competitions.

California Olive Ranch has spear­headed efforts in recent years by American pro­duc­ers to level the play­ing field with European com­peti­tors. COR and the American Olive Oil Producers Association pressed unsuc­cess­fully for a pro­vi­sion in the failed Farm Bill last year that would have imposed olive oil import con­trols.

In 2012, the group urged law­mak­ers to exam­ine the com­pet­i­tive advan­tages of imports which led to a United States International Trade Commission inves­ti­ga­tion and, last year, pushed for the cre­ation of the Olive Oil Commission of California to estab­lish new qual­ity stan­dards for olive oil pro­duced in the state with the even­tual aim of hav­ing the stan­dards apply to imports as well.

This is a break­ing news arti­cle. Check back for updates.

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