- Beleaguered indoor farming company AppHarvest is seeing its four greenhouse facilities auctioned off after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- Investment firm Equilibrium, a longtime backer of the company, submitted the only bid for AppHarvest’s two 60-acre greenhouse facilities that grow tomatoes.
- Netherlands-based Bosch Growers submitted the winning bid for AppHarvest’s 30-acre cucumber and strawberry greenhouse.
- AppHarvest distribution partner Mastronardi Produce bought the fourth facility in December 2022.
- AgFunderNews has reached out to AppHarvest and Equilibrium Capital and will update this post with new information as it arises.
What happens now?
Auctions were scheduled last week as part of AppHarvest’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.
Those for the company’s two tomato farms — in Kentucky cities Morehead and Richmond — were cancelled after Equilibrium submitted the only bid, a $113 million credit bid.
In 2021, Equilibrium supplied AppHarvest with $90 million in financing to build the Richmond facility.
In May 2023, the investment firm filed a foreclosure lawsuit alleging AppHarvest had failed to complete the facility on time and on budget and that it was in breach of contract. The lawsuit demanded an immediate repayment of the $66.7 million plus interest AppHarvest owed Equilibrium, and sought to have the facility sold in a court auction.
AppHarvest filed for bankruptcy in July, at which point Equilibrium provided almost $30 million in “debtor-in-possession” so that AppHarvest could continue operations at its farms. Equilibrium has also secured claims from another creditor for the Morehead facility.
Equilibrium has not publicly disclosed what it plans to do with the facilities; AgFunderNews reached out to the firm for comment on this.
Meanwhile, Bosch Growers, a family-run grower that’s been in operation since 1854, submitted the winning bid for AppHarvest’s Somerset, Kentucky farm that grows strawberries and cucumbers.
This marks Bosch Growers’ first facility in the United States. Wouter van den Bosch and his brother Tijmen will run the farm as part of the Bosch Berries Kentucky company.
“It’s a huge opportunity, and we’re looking forward tremendously to getting started here,” Wouter van den Bosch said in a statement.
Bosch has reportedly been looking to expand to the US for some time, and has experience growing berries indoors, most notably with its blackberries.
Comments suggest the company will keep the Somerset facility up and running.
“There is a lot of demand for strawberries, but most of the supply now comes from open cultivation,” said Wouter, who pointed out the un-sustainable nature of growing berries solely in the west and transporting them to the east by truck.
“Greenhouse horticulture is a good answer to this, but it is a profession: no plug-and-play. We bring our own knowledge and experience and can rely on the various partners we work with in the Netherlands. That gives us confidence that we can make it a success.”
Terms of the deal are undisclosed at this time.
Auctions are still pending court approval, and a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6 of this week.