Morristown-based law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP has acted as lead deal counsel for Nexsus Management LLC, a recently formed Morristown, New Jersey-based company with operations also in Ecuador, in a cross-border cocoa industry joint venture with Goddard Enterprises Ltd.
Goddard, a multi-product and multi-service group of businesses based in Barbados, recently entered the cocoa business by forming Ecuakao Group Ltd., a Cayman Islands company, and acquiring a cocoa processing facility in Guayaquil, Ecuador. As part of that transaction, Ecuakao retained Nexsus to provide it and its subsidiaries, including a cocoa trading company in Uruguay, with management services, sales representation, logistics management, operational compliance services, financial services and technological support. In addition to receiving management fees, Nexsus holds an equity stake in Ecuakao, and Goddard will receive equity in Nexsus as well.
Riker Danzig partner Jason Navarino, who led the Riker team on this transaction, explains that this deal marks a significant jumping-off point for Nexsus. “The partnership with an established and strong company like Goddard will allow Nexsus to implement its vision of providing efficient, technology-driven management solutions for cocoa industry participants, starting with the cocoa bean farmers in developing countries,” says Navarino. “Nexsus hopes to transform the cocoa industry through its pioneering sustainability initiatives, and Riker Danzig is pleased to support Nexsus in achieving this goal.”
Deloitte acted as financial advisor to Nexsus, which was represented locally by Walkers in the Cayman Islands and by HH Abogados in Ecuador. McLaughlin & Stern LLP in New York and Lexim Abogados in Ecuador acted as counsel for Goddard, which was also advised on cross-border tax matters by EY.
In addition to Navarino, the Riker corporate and tax team included Ronald Leibman, Michael LaTempa and Hannah Greendyk, with Robert Schoenberg advising on intellectual property matters.