TORONTO, ONTARIO--Stake Technology Ltd. (To become "SunOpta Inc." effective October 31, 2003) (Nasdaq:STKL)(TSX:SOY) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the shareholders of Pro Organics Marketing, Inc. and its related companies ("Pro Organics") to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of these companies.
Pro Organics is the leading distributor of certified organic fresh foods in Canada with distribution facilities located in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Pro Organics supplies the most complete range of certified organic produce as well as extensive offerings in organic bulk foods and dairy. The company enjoys a number of exclusive sourcing arrangements.
Pro Organics is a profitable company with revenues in this past year of approximately Cdn. $35.0 million.
The combination of Pro Organics with SunOpta's own distributors, Wild West Organic Harvest in Western Canada and Simply Organics in Ontario, is expected to bring significant benefits to the customer base in the form of broader product lines and greater support for consumer education of organics through marketing and retail merchandising initiatives.
Jeremy Kendall, Chairman and CEO of SunOpta Inc., commented that "We are extremely pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with Pro Organics. When combined with our existing distribution operations, this new addition to the group brings us a step closer to our stated goal of creating a strong and vibrant national organic foods distribution system." Mr. Kendall confirmed that Debra Boyle and Steve Boyle will remain with the Company and will assume wider responsibilities in supporting the growth and development of organic foods in Canada.
Debra Boyle, President and CEO of Pro Organics commented that "We are delighted to become part of the SunOpta organization with its strong commitment to natural and organic foods and environmental responsibility. Together we can realize our common goal of promoting the growth and integrity of organics and continue to build a stronger organic foods market in North America."
The all cash acquisition is subject to completion of definitive agreements and is scheduled to close on October 10, 2003.
Stake Technology Ltd., to become SunOpta Inc. effective October 31, 2003, is an owner/operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. For the last five consecutive years, Stake was included in Profit magazine's 'Profit 100' list of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. The company has three business units: the Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products; integrated from seed through packaged products; the Environmental Industrial Group; a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the Steam Explosion Technology Group who engineer and market clean pulping systems using patented steam explosion technology. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.
Websites: www.staketech.com or www.sunopta.com www.sunrich.com www.bei.ca www.steamexplosion.com www.sunrichvalley.com www.organickitchen.ca www.wildwestorganicharvest.com www.kettlevalley.net www.opta-food.com