(Bloomberg) -- Grupo DC, the family holding company for Peru’s wealthy Dyer family, named Jorge Kuryla as chief executive officer at its DC Capital unit to oversee strategy and seek synergies across a portfolio that runs from agriculture to mining.
Kuryla, who was a director at the holding company and previously worked for a decade in private equity, will build a team to analyze merger-and-acquisition opportunities, oversee finances and help advise the companies’ boards.
Samuel Dyer Coriat, the son of founders Samuel Dyer Ampudia and Rosa Coriat Valera, will continue to act as chairman, he said in an interview in Lima alongside Kuryla.
Grupo DC’s largest holding is Camposol, Peru’s top producer and exporter of fresh fruits including blueberries, avocados and mangoes with operations in five countries. The holding company also owns a shrimp farm and export business, a packaging firm and real estate holdings along with forestry, micro-lending and mining assets.
“In our last strategic planning meeting this came up as something we hadn’t seen. We realized we had eight companies and we weren’t taking advantage of the synergies between them,” Dyer said. “It’s an important step to finish building the skeleton of good governance to assure the sustainability and transcendence of the group going forward.”
The group dates back to a corrugated steel panel business started in the 1980s in Peru’s Amazonian city of Pucallpa and later a fishing company called Copeinca that produced fish meal and fish oil in Piura province in the north. Copeinca, which was listed on the Oslo stock exchange, was sold in 2013 for more than $900 million, according to the group’s website.
Camposol, which also traded on the Oslo exchange until a delisting in 2013, owns some 17,400 hectares of land, nearly 10,000 of which are planted with fruits and vegetables. It has recently expanded into Colombia, Uruguay, Chile and Mexico.
Peru has become a powerhouse for agriculture exports to the US, Europe and Asia and is now the world’s largest exporter of blueberries. But extreme weather from El Nino has presented headwinds that will spill into 2024.
The company has a $350 million bond outstanding that was issued just before the pandemic which trades at 61 cents on the dollar. That’s due to leverage that rose to above 8 times in 2022, Dyer said. The debt metric currently stands around 5 times and should return to “normal levels” of about 3.5 times next year. The firm is curtailing new investments to make that happen, he said.
The family announced plans to list Camposol in the US a few years ago but held off because of market volatility. That’s still a possibility, he said.
“Camposol is a large part of the portfolio of the family, about 60%. And the objective we’ve had has been to try to lower that a bit and rebalance the portfolio,” Dyer said. “We’ve tried to list the company a few times but had bad luck with timing. That doesn’t mean we would discard it in the future or even a private offering.”
Grupo DC will have total revenue of around $800 million this year, which may rise to a record $1 billion in 2024, he said. Investments will be around $60 million a year, down from $100 million a year previously, to help cut debt levels.
Last year, the family pushed into mining for the first time with the acquisition of a 60-year-old copper mine in a deal that pooled money with some outside investors. The asset was purchased for $22 million in a liquidation process and some $30 million has been invested since, Kuryla said.
Dyer mentioned ambitions to build the Mar Verde low-income housing business to be the largest in Peru and said efforts to build a sustainable forestry business in a corner of the Amazon are advancing through Refinca.
“There’s a lot of value to be captured,” Kuryla said, likening his new role to what he did at private equity firm Altra Investments. “It’s about challenging the companies to reach their potential. And also to help the group enter and participate in other industries.”
Dyer has worked at the group for 25 years after graduating from university. He’s one of five siblings and the third generation has 12 members, he said. His father stepped down a few years ago.
“Our dream as a family is to ensure that the family fortune transcends various generations in an orderly way,” Dyer said. “Until now at the corporation, it was basically me, my assistant and one other person.”
--With assistance from Marcelo Rochabrun.
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