TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - SunOpta, Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) announced today it has entered into an exclusive licensing arrangement with Mikro-Technik GmbH & Co. KG of Burgstadt, Germany (Mikro-Technik) for the sales, marketing and distribution of Mikro-Technik's wheat and bamboo fibers, and its powdered cellulose products in North America. These products, which are complementary to the current fiber portfolio of the SunOpta Ingredients Group, will be marketed under the SunOpta brand name.
Art McEvily, President of SunOpta Ingredients commented that "The agreement between SunOpta Ingredients and Mikro-Technik is a strong step forward in meeting two important strategic goals: the diversification of our fiber portfolio, with varieties other than oat; and increasing the Company's presence in the international arena. We look forward to working closely with Mikro-Technik to drive sales of these unique, functional fibers in the North American food industry."
Christian Bumm, Managing Director of Mikro-Technik commented: "We are pleased to have established this commercial relationship with SunOpta Ingredients. The collaborative effort will enable Mikro-Technik to expand in the food market while allowing us to remain focused on our core fiber development and manufacturing competencies."
The SunOpta Ingredients Group, an operating unit within the SunOpta Food Group, is a leading supplier of value-added, healthful ingredients to the global food industry with a core focus on edible fiber products derived from oat, soy and other agricultural raw materials. A key component of the Company's growth strategy is to expand its fiber business globally by leveraging its core competencies in the development, manufacture, and application of highly functional food fibers. This includes the diversification of its product portfolio beyond insoluble oat fibers, penetration of new market segments such as pet foods, and acceleration of sales growth in international markets.
SunOpta also announced that sales of the internally-developed, proprietary SunOpta Soy Fiber S-200, which was introduced earlier this year, are well ahead of expectations. Significant supply agreements have been reached with several customers including a major industrial baked goods manufacturer. Due to the strong growth of the Soy Fiber S-200 the Group is expanding its production capabilities at its Cedar Rapids, IA fiber facility via installation of upgraded processing equipment and rationalization of certain product lines with other SunOpta fiber processing facilities. In addition, sales of oat fiber products in both domestic and international markets are growing as the Company expands its global sales, distribution and support capabilities. As a result, capacity is also being increased by several million pounds, or 15%, at SunOpta's Louisville, Kentucky facility.
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group which is a world leader in biomass conversion technology for producing biofuels and other value added products from biomass. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.
Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. 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.