PORTLAND – A group of Maine-based investors has acquired an Aroostook County potato company. One of them, the Libra Foundation, owned the company from 1999 to 2006.

The investment group — which also includes former Bath Iron Works chief executive William E. Haggett of West Bath — purchased Naturally Potatoes of Mars Hill on Tuesday for an undisclosed sum. Haggett managed the company under Libra’s previous ownership.

Naturally Potatoes has been owned by Basic American Foods, a California company, since 2006. With more than 100 employees, it is Mars Hill’s largest employer.

“We found out they weren’t doing very well. We didn’t want Aroostook County to lose so many jobs,” said Owen Wells, Libra president.

Haggett now becomes chairman and CEO of Naturally Potatoes, which produces refrigerated potato products sold to customers across the United States.

The company was started by a group of potato farmers. After Wells toured the plant in 1999, the Libra Foundation decided to invest in the company. Haggett and company founder Rodney McCrum turned the company into a $23 million a year business before selling it in 2006.

“Our modus operandi has been to invest in a business and then get out once it’s successful,” Wells explained.

McCrum will be president and chief operating officer.

Naturally Potatoes will become part of Libra Foundation’s Pineland Farms companies, which include Pineland Farms Natural Meats and Pineland Farms Cheese.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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