(GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) – SunOpta Inc., a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified and healthy foods, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Niagara Natural Fruit Snack Company Inc. (“Niagara Natural”). The acquisition closed contemporaneously with the execution of the definitive agreement.
Niagara Natural is a growing and innovative manufacturer of healthy non-GMO and organic fruit snacks, enhancing SunOpta’s existing healthy snack platform and focus on integrated consumer products. With the acquisition, SunOpta extends its market presence in fruit snacks and importantly will now have manufacturing operations in both the east and west, providing a competitively positioned platform to improve customer service and also generate meaningful operational and logistical synergies. The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to cash flows, and accretive in 2016 to earnings on a GAAP basis.
“Niagara Natural is a strong strategic fit within our core vertically integrated consumer products strategy, aligning well with our focus on healthy and convenient snacking,” said Rik Jacobs, President and Chief Operating Officer of SunOpta. “Not only are we adding a growing business that enhances our leadership position in this on-trend category, but we are adding a talented team with operational expertise and a customer base comprised of high-quality, blue chip retailers.”
Based in the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada, Niagara Natural is expected to generate approximately CDN $10 million in revenue in 2015, and has approximately 35 employees, all of whom are expected to join SunOpta. John Boot, who founded Niagara Natural in 2009 and serves as its President, will lead SunOpta’s combined fruit snack category. The transaction is valued at approximately US $6.7 million on a debt free basis, plus potential future payments based on specific performance targets, and is subject to certain post-closing adjustments. The purchase will be funded through cash on hand and existing credit facilities.
“Joining SunOpta allows us to leverage their global platform and combine our innovation pipelines, which should enable us to reach new customers and offer existing customers enhanced capabilities,” said Boot. “Combining our existing fruit snack platform creates a strong market leader in the growing fruit snack category, and I am excited we will be joining the SunOpta team.”
“We see product innovation opportunities in healthy and organic packaged fruit snacks, but also in fruit-based ingredients and new products focused on main stream snacking,” said Steve Bromley, Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta. “Our ongoing investment in new product development plays a key role in our growth strategy, and the fruit snack category is a great example of a category where we intend to provide innovative products for existing and new customers.”
Source: SunOpta Inc.