SunOpta Inc. today announced that it has established a Special Committee of Directors and initiated a strategic review process to enhance shareholder value. The Special Committee is comprised of Jeremy Kendall, Chairman of the Board, Robert Fetherstonhaugh, Lead Director and Steve Bromley, Director, President and Chief Executive Officer. The process is being undertaken in response to recent events including the current valuation of the Company. "Despite record revenue and strong internal growth and operating performance, the Company's shares trade at a discount to its historical valuation benchmarks" said Mr. Kendall, Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors and Special Committee have engaged Genuity Capital Markets as its financial advisor, to identify alternatives to enhance shareholder value.
The strategic review will encompass a careful assessment of: i) the Company's business plan, growth strategy and market valuation, including the potential sale of non-core businesses or assets, ii) the optimal capital structure of the Company, and iii) any other alternatives identified by the Special Committee. There can, however, be no assurance that the strategic review process will, in fact, lead to any dispositions of businesses or change in capital structure.
The Company also announced that its Board of Directors plans to implement a Shareholder Rights Plan, to be confirmed by Shareholders at the 2009 Shareholders Meeting. The purpose of the rights plan will be to provide the Company sufficient time to develop and implement alternatives to maximize value for all Shareholders in the event of an unsolicited bid for control of the Company, and to enhance the Company's ability to prevent any unfair acquisition tactics. The Company has not received any proposals and the rights plan will not be intended to, and will not, hinder full and fair offers for control of the Company that are made to all Shareholders.
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food and natural health 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; Opta Minerals Inc. (CA:OPM: news, chart, profile) (66.6% owned by SunOpta), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and SunOpta BioProcess Inc. which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the bio-fuel, pulp and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.