TORONTO, Sep 13, 2004 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX) -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta) (STKL) (CA:SOY) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire 51% of the outstanding shares of Organic Ingredients, Inc. (Organic Ingredients), headquartered in Aptos, California. The cash transaction was completed this past weekend. As part of this transaction, SunOpta has also obtained an option to acquire the 49% minority position in 2005.
Organic Ingredients is a leading trader and provider of a wide range of certified organic industrial ingredients including processed fruit and vegetable based ingredients, sweeteners, vinegars and others. The company sources and contract manufactures through exclusive arrangements with suppliers located around the world, including North America, South America, Europe and Asia. These exclusive supply arrangements enable the company to maintain a strategic advantage in the organic food ingredient market, in terms of cost and availability of supply.
Organic Ingredients also develops many organic private label products through its experienced staff of industry innovators and product development team. The combination of dedicated development resources and exclusive supply agreements enables the company to be a leading provider of organic ingredients and developer of value-added, low cost private label organic products.
The company's strategic cost and supply advantage is expected to generate significant synergies with SunOpta's existing vertically integrated organic food operations as SunOpta continues to expand its organic ingredient and finished product offerings.
Organic Ingredients is a profitable growth company with annualized revenues of approximately U.S.$15.0 million.
Mr. Joseph Stern, President of Organic Ingredients, stated that "I am very pleased to have reached this agreement with SunOpta. SunOpta's culture and operating values are very much aligned with Organic Ingredients. I look forward to working closely with SunOpta's management to synergize our operations and bring new and exciting organic ingredients and private label products to market."
Jeremy Kendall, Chairman and CEO of SunOpta Inc., commented that "We are delighted to reach this agreement with Mr. Stern, a pioneer in this industry and a recognized organic industry expert. This acquisition serves to further solidify SunOpta as a key supplier to the growing organic foods and healthy eating markets."
To learn more about Organic Ingredients, please visit www.organic-ingredients.com.
SunOpta Inc. is an owner/operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. For the last six consecutive years, SunOpta was included in Profit magazine's 'Profit 100' list of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. 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 StakeTech Steam Explosion Group that engineers and markets 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.