One of the leading plant-based food and beverage companies expands footprint for innovation and to increase manufacturing capabilities, double business by 2025 compared to 2020
SunOpta, a U.S.-based, global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages, announced the opening of its new plant-based beverage production facility in Midlothian, Texas, bringing up to 175 new jobs to the area. The new mega facility will manufacture the company’s entire suite of plant-based milks and creamers, along with tea and other products. Various package sizes and configurations will be produced including 16-ounce and 32-ounce packages typically used in food service, shelf-stable retail, and e-commerce for plant-based milk products, and 330-milliliter packages used primarily in high-protein nutritional beverages.
“This plant is an important part of SunOpta’s long-term goals and a powerful next step in our company vision,” said Joe Ennen, CEO of SunOpta. “The fully-equipped and state-of-the-art facility will enhance our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities. In addition, through innovation and our dedication to sustainability, we can respond to the increasing nationwide demand for plant-based food and beverages.”
By 2025, SunOpta aims to double its plant-based business and has invested nearly USD 200 million in its plant-based production capacity in the last three years to support the accelerated growth and developing demand for plant- based milk alternatives. This new Midlothian plant will add capacity and new capabilities to accelerate growth and reduce production costs to serve and meet the growing needs of SunOpta’s customers.
Designed with SunOpta’s sustainability objectives in mind, the new Midlothian plant will reduce carbon emissions, conserve water, effciently utilise power and use recycled materials. With the plant strategically placed in Texas, SunOpta will significantly reduce emissions through lower transportation usage. The plant’s regional location will reduce more than 15 million freight miles annually and save 59 million pounds of carbon emissions. In addition, the facility is equipped with water reuse equipment that can save up to 20 million gallons of water a year, an energy-effcient HVAC system that reduces energy consumption by 45 %, LED lights and water heaters that reduce power usage by 95 %, and offces and labs constructed with at least 40 % recyclable materials.
As of now, the new production facility has 285,000 square feet, with the capacity to expand to 400,000 square feet to take on future growth. When fully expanded, the facility will be SunOpta’s largest plant for plant-based food and beverages. The new Midlothian site is located at 4126 Power Way, Midlothian, Texas 76065. In combination with SunOpta’s plants in California, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, the Texas location creates a competitively advantaged, ‘diamond-shaped’ national network for national distribution.
SunOpta works closely with the City of Midlothian and other key partners to minimise the environmental footprint of the manufacturing process.
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SunOpta Inc., a leading global company focused on plant-based foods and beverages, fruit-based foods and beverages, and organic ingredient sourcing and production, announced it has reached an agreement to sell the Company’s global ingredients segment and related assets to an Amsterdam based global commodity trading company, Amsterdam Commodities N.V. for a debt and cash free consideration of €330 million. The transaction, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close by January 2021.
“I’m pleased to announce this strategically transformational transaction. This transaction further solidifies SunOpta’s future direction as a high-growth, plant-based company focused on providing value-added products in competitively advantaged categories with consistent, sustainable, above average growth characteristics. The long- term supply agreement negotiated as part of this transaction provides SunOpta with the benefit of a continued strategic relationship with a leading global ingredient player in Acomo. Furthermore, this transaction de-levers and strengthens SunOpta’s balance sheet, enabling the acceleration of near-term expansion plans in our fast-growing plant-based food and beverage segment. The plans include both high-return capital investment projects, as well as synergistic acquisitions, that add to an existing set of strong capabilities in our core plant-based beverage platform. This is a very exciting time for us at SunOpta as we look forward to building on our success of the past four quarters,” said Joe Ennen, Chief Executive Offcer of SunOpta.
“With the exciting acquisition of Tradin, Acomo will realize a highly complementary acquisition, creating a leading global player across organic and conventional unlisted commodities. The company is a leading partner for the organic food industry, benefitting from the rapidly growing global consumer demand for sustainable and healthy foods. Tradin has an attractive financial profile and will continue to be led by a highly experienced management team,” said Allard Goldschmeding, Acomo Group Managing Director.
Under the terms of the agreement, SunOpta will sell processing facilities located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Silistra, Bulgaria; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Yirgalem, Ethiopia. These facilities and their employees will continue to operate in ordinary course. Approximately 525 employees will be transferred from SunOpta to Acomo.
The Global Ingredients business being sold contributed approximately US$488 million to SunOpta’s net sales for the twelve months ended September 26, 2020. The transaction valuation represents an approximate 10x multiple of Adjusted EBITDA1 for the standalone business. This transaction is highly tax effcient and is expected to be accretive to the Company’s long-term growth rate and margin profile further focusing the Company on delivering more consistent financial results for our shareholders.
Proceeds from this transaction will be used for capital investment primarily into the core Plant-Based Foods and Beverages segment and to pay down debt.
1Non-GAAP Measures In addition to reporting financial results in accordance with U.S. GAAP, the Company provides additional information about its operating results regarding segment operating income, adjusted earnings and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“Adjusted EBITDA”), which are not measures in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The Company believes that segment operating income, adjusted earnings and adjusted EBITDA assist investors in comparing performance across reporting periods on a consistent basis by excluding items that are not indicative of its operating performance. The non-GAAP measures of segment operating income, adjusted earnings and adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for performance measures calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP.