TORONTO, May 2, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods, today announced the sale of its frozen fruit processing assets in Rosarito, Mexico and Irapuato, Mexico to Fruvemex Mexicali, S.A. de C.V. ("Fruvemex"). As part of this transaction SunOpta also entered into a strategic raw material supply agreement with Fruvemex, plus a market value lease for Fruvemex's use of the land and buildings in Irapuato which remain the property of SunOpta.
The purchase price was $3.15 million. An initial installment of $750,000 was received on the closing of the transaction and the balance will be paid via a series of installments over the next year.
Fruvemex is a privately owned Mexican entity headquartered in Mexicali, Mexico. The business has deep roots in frozen, refrigerated and dehydrated fruit and vegetable products including strawberries, mango, melons, hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and salsas and has been a supplier to SunOpta for several years.
The processing assets included in this transaction form part of the SunOpta Fruit Group, and more specifically, the SunOpta Fruit Specialties frozen fruit operations, which supply frozen strawberries and other fruit products in Individually Quick Frozen and other packaging formats to retail, foodservice and industrial customers in the United States and certain international markets. As part of this transaction SunOpta has entered into a supply agreement with Fruvemex who will supply strawberry and other fruit products to SunOpta from these facilities as well as other operations under their control.
Steve Bromley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta, commented, "This divestiture is the latest step in our strategy to improve the profitability of our frozen fruit operations and continue to simplify our business model with a focus on our core areas of expertise, plus expand strategic relationships to secure long-term supply. We believe that Fruvemex will be an excellent long term partner and provide SunOpta with cost competitive fruit products. We want to express our sincere appreciation to our dedicated employees for their hard work and dedication and wish them continued success under Fruvemex's leadership."
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in natural and organic foods. The Company has two business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products and Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM) (66.4% owned by SunOpta), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial minerals. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.
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Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release may be considered "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation. These forward-looking statements include the payment of the balance of the purchase price, our strategy to improve profitability and to simplify our business model and our expectation that Fruvemex will be an excellent partner, and are based on information available to us on the date of this release. Terms and phrases such as "will be", "strategy", "continue", "believe", "simplify" and other similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by the Company in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as management's best judgment based on current facts and assumptions that management considers reasonable, including Fruvemex's financial capacity to pay the balance of the purchase price, our ability to sustain or increase sales and lower costs within our Frozen Fruit operations and our past experience dealing with Fruvemex. The Company makes no representation that reasonable business people in possession of the same information would reach the same conclusions. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements including those detailed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at ). Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.
CONTACT: SunOpta Inc. Steve Bromley, President & CEO Eric Davis, Vice President & CFO Tony Tavares, Vice President & COO Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103 email@example.com Website: www.sunopta.com