TORONTO, Aug. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified and healthy foods, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Niagara Natural Fruit Snack Company Inc. ("Niagara Natural"). The acquisition closed contemporaneously with the execution of the definitive agreement.
Niagara Natural is a growing and innovative manufacturer of healthy non-GMO and organic fruit snacks, enhancing SunOpta's existing healthy snack platform and focus on integrated consumer products. With the acquisition, SunOpta extends its market presence in fruit snacks and importantly will now have manufacturing operations in both the east and west, providing a competitively positioned platform to improve customer service and also generate meaningful operational and logistical synergies. The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to cash flows, and accretive in 2016 to earnings on a GAAP basis.
"Niagara Natural is a strong strategic fit within our core vertically integrated consumer products strategy, aligning well with our focus on healthy and convenient snacking," said Rik Jacobs, President and Chief Operating Officer of SunOpta. "Not only are we adding a growing business that enhances our leadership position in this on-trend category, but we are adding a talented team with operational expertise and a customer base comprised of high-quality, blue chip retailers."
Based in the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada, Niagara Natural is expected to generate approximately CDN $10 million in revenue in 2015, and has approximately 35 employees, all of whom are expected to join SunOpta. John Boot, who founded Niagara Natural in 2009 and serves as its President, will lead SunOpta's combined fruit snack category. The transaction is valued at approximately US $6.7 million on a debt free basis, plus potential future payments based on specific performance targets, and is subject to certain post-closing adjustments. The purchase will be funded through cash on hand and existing credit facilities.
"Joining SunOpta allows us to leverage their global platform and combine our innovation pipelines, which should enable us to reach new customers and offer existing customers enhanced capabilities," said Boot. "Combining our existing fruit snack platform creates a strong market leader in the growing fruit snack category, and I am excited we will be joining the SunOpta team."
"We see product innovation opportunities in healthy and organic packaged fruit snacks, but also in fruit-based ingredients and new products focused on main stream snacking," said Steve Bromley, Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta. "Our ongoing investment in new product development plays a key role in our growth strategy, and the fruit snack category is a great example of a category where we intend to provide innovative products for existing and new customers."
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified ("non-GMO") and specialty foods. SunOpta specializes in the sourcing, processing and packaging of organic and non-GMO food products, integrated from seed through packaged products; with a focus on strategic vertically integrated business models. SunOpta's organic and non-GMO food operations revolve around value-added grain, seed, fruit and vegetable based product offerings, supported by a global sourcing and supply infrastructure. SunOpta also holds an approximate 66% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM), a producer, distributor, and recycler of industrial minerals and silica-free abrasives. Opta Minerals is a non-core holding.
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Certain statements included in this press release may be considered "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our expectation that the acquisition will be immediately accretive to cash flows and earnings and generate meaningful operational and logistical synergies, the estimated additional revenue to be generated as a result of the acquisition and our expectation that the acquisition will permit Niagara Natural to reach new customers and offer existing customers enhanced capabilities. Terms and phrases such as "will", "expects", "believes", "intends", "should" and other similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward looking statements. Forward looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this release and are based on estimates and assumptions made by the Company in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstances. The Company makes no representation that reasonable business people in possession of the same information would reach the same conclusions. Whether actual timing and results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to failure to retain key management and employees of Niagara Natural; issues or delays in the successful integration of Niagara Natural's operations with those of the Company including incurring or experiencing unanticipated costs and/or delays or difficulties, future levels of revenues being lower than expected and costs being higher than expected; failure or inability to implement growth strategies in a timely manner; risks associated with integrating the operations, systems, and personnel of Niagara Natural; conditions affecting the fruit or snack industries generally; local and global political and economic conditions; conditions in the securities market that are less favorable than expected; and changes in the level of capital investment, as well as other risks described from time to time under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at www.sec.gov). Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.
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