Toronto – Canadian company SunOpta Inc. has acquired a California-based fruit processor from private equity firm Paine & Partners LLC in a transaction valued at US$450 million.
Sunrise Growers processes conventional and organic frozen fruit, generating approximately US$300 million annualized revenue.
In a statement, SunOpta explains that Sunrise Growers was a draw because it will complement SunOpta’s existing frozen fruit and fruit ingredient businesses. Combining their operations will position SunOpta as a global leader in the growing frozen fruit category.
Sunrise Growers supplies retail and foodservice customers from its facilities located in California, Kansas and Mexico. It has 250 full-time and 1,200 seasonal employees.
SunOpta supplies packaged food companies with everything from organic corn to sunflower seeds, and makes finished products — soy milk and orange juice — for major food retailers.
SunOpta is also a leader in the non-GMO aseptic beverage market, says the StarTribune.com. The Sunrise deal, the website reports, “gives [SunOpta] a leadership position in another category, non-GMO frozen fruit,” said Eric Gottlieb, a stock analyst at D.A. Davidson. “I think it’s a very good deal.”
Rik Jacobs, SunOpta’s president and COO, says the acquisition provides the company with “an immediate leadership position in frozen fruit” and will “broaden its leadership in the aseptic non-dairy category.”
Jacobs says Ed Haft, president and CEO of Sunrise Growers, will lead the frozen fruit operations after the transaction closes.
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