Merit secures $10M in funding from government program
By Food in CanadaFood In Canada Business Operations Fruit & Vegetables Specialty Foods Merit Functional Foods Corporation
June 23, 2020, Vancouver, B.C. – Burcon NutraScience Corporation has announced that its joint venture company, Merit Functional Foods Corporation, has secured additional debt financing of $10 million in the form of a 10-year interest free loan from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Burcon president and chief executive officer Johann Tergesen says that with the announcement Merit has further strengthened its financial position as it drives forward to complete its state-of-the-art plant protein production facility in Winnipeg, Man.
“Merit fully anticipates future increases in demand and is well-positioned to increase planned capacity when the time is right.”
The interest-free loan, repayable over 10 years, was approved under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovate Program (AIP). Merit has now secured a combined $95-million debt financing package from a consortium of lenders including Export Development Canada, Farm Credit Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Burcon expects that the $4-million guarantee Burcon previously provided to help facilitate Merit’s debt financing will be released in stages over time as Merit draws down on the $10-million AIP loan.
Merit is building a 94,000-square-foot production facility in Winnipeg to produce high-quality pea and canola proteins. The state-of-the-art facility, which is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2020, will be the only commercial facility in the world with the capability to produce food-grade canola proteins. The financing will further support Merit’s growth plans and allow for expansion of its pea and canola protein capacity.
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