Acquisition of one of the U.S.'s largest bean processors more than doubles dry bean capacity
Purchase of sunflower processing assets adds dehulling capability
WINNIPEG, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Legumex Walker Inc. (TSX: LWP) today announced two acquisitions. The first acquisition is Minnesota-based St. Hilaire Seed Company, one of the largest dry bean processors in the United States. The Company paid USD$12,000,000 in cash and stock for 100 percent of the business of St. Hilaire, including approximately USD$3.5 million in net working capital, and refinanced approximately USD$2.5 million in St. Hilaire long-term debt. The 2011 Adjusted EBITDA of St. Hilaire Seeds was approximately USD$3.7 million.
The second acquisition includes sunflower seed processing assets previously owned by Anderson Seed Company, consisting of a processing facility in Mentor, MN and two receiving stations in North Dakota, for USD$4.8 million. The sunflower seed processing facility has a production capacity of approximately 40,000 MT per year and the receiving stations have a combined storage capacity of 13,000 MT.
The two acquisitions significantly strengthen the Company's position in the North American special crop industry with an increased focus on dry beans and dehulled sunflower seeds.
The Company anticipates the acquisitions will be immediately accretive to earnings per share, excluding synergies.
"This acquisition is a significant event for our Company," said Joel Horn, president and CEO of Legumex Walker. "St. Hilaire materially increases the contribution from dry beans in our product mix. It also diversifies our dry bean sourcing and processing through expansion into the American Midwest. The sunflower seed facilities offer us an attractive opportunity to expand the scope of our sunflower seed business."
"This transaction fits extremely well with our strategic objectives," Horn continued. "It fits our culture and it complements our existing processing capability. It allows us to further expand and leverage our global sales and distribution network with well-established and well-regarded brands. In addition, it brings us important new relationships with grower communities in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota."
St. Hilaire, founded in 1993, is a buyer and processor of pinto and black turtle beans. It also processes dark red kidneys, great northern, cranberry and small red beans. It employs approximately 35 people and the Company expects substantially all of them, including the current management team, to remain with the Company. The St. Hilaire processing plant adds 45,000 MT of capacity, more than doubling Legumex Walker's dry bean capacity. St. Hilaire also owns six receiving facilities in North Dakota (5) and Minnesota (1) with a combined storage capacity of 40,000 MT.
The Company has formed a new division - Legumex Walker Sunflower, LLC - which will commence sunflower seed processing after the facilities acquired from Anderson Seed are transitioned and staffed. The Company expects to employ approximately 25 employees to operate its new division and expects that nearly all of those hired will come from the local community.
"We have deep experience in sunflower seed processing that will serve us well in this venture," said Horn. "Our new sunflower processing facility is in excellent condition and we think there's a great workforce in the Mentor area that we can quickly recruit to staff our new operations. We're pleased to be expanding into this region of the United States and to become a contributing part of the local economy."
The cash portion of the combined transaction was funded with $12.2 million from a credit facility with HSBC Bank Canada and the Company was advised by Cormark Securities Inc. All required governmental and regulatory approvals have been obtained and all material closing conditions have been satisfied.
About Legumex Walker Inc.
Legumex Walker is a growth-oriented processor and merchandiser of pulses (lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas), other special crops and canola products. The Company is one of the largest processors of pulses and other special crops in Canada, with 11 processing facilities strategically located in key growing regions in the Canadian Prairie Provinces and American Midwest, a global sales, logistics and distribution platform and access to multimodal transportation capabilities. In addition the Company has an 85 percent interest in Pacific Coast Canola, LLC, a company that is constructing a canola oilseed processing facility in Washington State.
This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities laws, which may include, but are not limited to statements relating to the acquisition of St. Hilaire Seed Company and certain assets of Anderson Seed Company, the Company's plans for those acquisitions, its expectations for the performance of those acquisitions, the impact of those acquisitions on the overall performance of the Company and on financial results for future periods. Such forward-looking information reflects the Company's views with respect to future events and is subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including (i) risks associated with the integration of the operations of St Hilaire and the Mentor MN facility with the Company's current operations and those set out in the final prospectus of Legumex Walker dated June 30, 2011 available on sedar.com, and (ii) the assumption that future results from the operations acquired will be consistent with results from prior periods. The Company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, except as required by law.
For further information:
Manager of Investor Relations - Legumex Walker Inc.
(416) 815-0700 ext. 257