Swiss-based private market firm Partners Group has agreed to divest fresh food retail chain Hortifruti Natural da Terra to Brazilian retailer Lojas Americanas.

The Hortifruti Natural da Terra brand is being sold for R$2.4bn ($456m).

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Hortifruti operates 73 stores selling fruits, legumes and vegetables among other fresh produce.

The retailer generated R$2bn ($380m) in unaudited gross revenue in the 12 months to 30 June.

Under Partners Group, the company almost doubled its store portfolio through both organic expansion and add-on acquisitions, as well as expanding its online services.

Last year, its digital platform contributed 16% of its total sales.

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Partners Group São Paulo Private Equity head Tiago Andrade said: “We are extremely proud of our successful work with Hortifruti Natural da Terra.

“During our ownership period, we transformed a family business into a fully professional enterprise, significantly improving the quality of management, processes, and systems.

“We have built a strong foundation for Hortifruti to enter its next phase of growth and believe it is the ideal time to exit the business on behalf of our clients.

“We are confident that Americanas is the right institutional partner for all stakeholders to advance the company, given its omnichannel ecosystem capabilities, which will allow Hortifruti to accelerate both its brick-and-mortar and digital growth.

“We look forward to seeing the business and its employees continue on this upward trajectory going forward.”

Hortifruiti CEO Thiago Picolo said: “During our partnership with Partners Group, Hortifruti experienced strong growth and a cultural transformation, becoming the leading omnichannel fresh foods retailer in Brazil, which local communities have counted on during the pandemic.

“Partners Group’s global platform and operational expertise, combined with the high-quality Operating Directors that it appointed to Hortifruti’s Board, were valuable resources as management led the transformation process.

“We are grateful to Partners Group for their years of hard work and feel well-positioned to continue growing as part of the Americanas family.”