SunOpta buys organic frozen fruit supplier Sunrise Growers

SunOpta buys organic frozen fruit supplier Sunrise Growers

Sunrise Growers is a leading supplier of private label conventional and organic frozen fruit and complements SunOpta's existing frozen fruit and fruit ingredient businesses.

SunOpta Inc. (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified and specialty foods, today announced it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sunrise Holdings (Delaware), Inc. from an investor group led by affiliates of Paine & Partners LLC. Sunrise Growers is the leading supplier of private label domestic and imported conventional and organic frozen fruit and complements SunOpta's existing frozen fruit and fruit ingredient businesses. This transaction positions the combined operation as a global leader in the rapidly growing frozen fruit category. Sunrise Growers generates approximately $300 million in annualized revenues, supplying a diverse base of retail and foodservice customers from its facilities in California, Kansas and Mexico.

"The acquisition of Sunrise Growers is transformative for our company as it significantly expands our scale in the private label frozen fruit category and aligns well with consumer demands for healthy, convenient and minimally processed foods. Sunrise Growers is a high-growth business that is expected to enhance product mix and thus our margin profile and accelerate our strategic focus on integrated consumer products," said SunOpta's president and chief operating officer, Rik Jacobs. "It also provides us with an immediate leadership position in frozen fruit that broadens and deepens our existing customer relationships and complements our leadership in the aseptic non-dairy category. Ed Haft, president and chief rxecutive officer of Sunrise Growers, will lead our frozen fruit operations after the transaction closes. We welcome Ed and his team to SunOpta and look forward to leveraging their deep category, customer and processing knowledge across our existing vertically integrated platform."    

"Our team of passionate and committed employees has built a leading private label frozen fruit supplier with a highly scaled operation and top market position," said Haft. "We are excited to have our business be part of the global team at SunOpta and believe this will position us to serve more customers and expand our market reach.  Frozen IQF fruits are harvested at their peak of freshness and nutrition and provide a great tasting, convenient and sustainable solution for consumers who want healthy foods."

"We have a strong balance sheet that provides the financial flexibility to complete this strategic, accretive acquisition," said Steve Bromley, SunOpta's chief executive officer. "Sunrise Growers has significant share in a strong and growing category which is aligned with our core focus on healthy foods, and we expect to realize meaningful operational efficiencies and commercial synergies.  We believe this transaction is transformative for SunOpta, should lead to significant value for our shareholders and offers immediate benefits for our customers."

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