Nature’s Touch acquires SunOpta frozen fruit business for US $141M

CPE News

CPE News (10.13.2023) – SunOpta Inc. (NASDAQ: STKL; TSX: SOY) has sold frozen fruit assets to Nature’s Touch for $141 million, inclusive of $20 million of seller promissory notes due in three years (All amounts in U.S. dollars).

The transaction closed on October 12, 2023.

The transaction represents SunOpta’s exit from the frozen fruit business. Included in the sale are the primary assets of the frozen fruit business, including facilities located in Edwardsville, Kansas and Jacona, Mexico, along with a significant quantity of frozen fruit inventory.

The standalone frozen fruit business generated approximately $263 million of revenue and approximately $15 million of adjusted EBITDA over the twelve-month period ending July 1, 2023.

Led by John Tentomas, Saint-Laurent, Quebec based Nature’s Touch is specializing in frozen fruits and vegetables. It offers a large selection of berries, as well as mangoes, avocados and broccoli, all tested for pesticides and organic residues.

Nature’s Touch employs more than 450 people and processes approximately 120 million pounds of frozen fruits and vegetables annually in three plants located in Quebec and British Columbia in Canada, and Virginia in the United States.

photo credit: Nature’s Touch

News Release

Nature’s Touch Expands Capabilities with Acquisition of Certain Assets of Sunrise Growers, SunOpta Inc.’s frozen fruit operations

MONTREAL, Oct. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ – Nature’s Touch, a leader in the frozen organic and conventional fruit industry, is thrilled to announce the successful acquisition of certain assets of Sunrise Growers, SunOpta Inc.’s frozen fruit operations. This strategic move marks a significant milestone in Nature’s Touch’s commitment to providing high-quality, affordable, and diverse frozen food products to consumers across Canada and the United States.NW Group/Nature’s Touch)

Nature’s Touch, founded in 2004, has established itself as a leading retail supplier of frozen organic and conventional fruits worldwide. Operating state-of-the-art freezing and packaging facilities in both Canada and the US, the company has continuously demonstrated impressive value and growth contributions in the North American frozen food category.

Sunrise Growers is a well-known participant in the private label frozen fruit sector in the United States, sharing Nature’s Touch’s dedication to offering premium, affordable frozen food products and promoting healthy eating habits. This acquisition strengthens Nature’s Touch’s mission to provide high-quality, diverse frozen food offerings, enhancing its capacity, efficiency, product diversity, and commitment to globally standardizing food safety in the frozen fruit retail category.

The United States market represents a significant growth opportunity for Nature’s Touch, and the company recently invested in a new facility in Virginia to further its strategic goals. The acquisition of Sunrise Growers frozen fruit operations located in Edwardsville, Kansas and Jacona, Mexico aligns perfectly with the company’s vision of creating value for consumers through synergies in scale, product diversity, innovation, geographic reach, and growth prospects.

Through this acquisition, Nature’s Touch can expand its excellence in customer centricity across North America, and features many benefits to suppliers, and retailers, including:

Continuous product quality improvement, innovation in processing techniques, increased store traffic and customer loyalty.
Expanded distribution network for efficient pricing.
Industry-leading fill rates and a stronger, more efficient supply chain.
Access to premium, organic frozen food products in convenient and sustainable packaging.
Commitment to excellence and sustainability in innovation, quality, and food safety.

Nature’s Touch CEO, John Tentomas, stated: “This acquisition is more than just a business transaction—it marks a deliberate step towards a future that is more integrated, innovative, and impactful. By welcoming the Sunrise Growers’ frozen fruit operations into our family, we are bolstering our unwavering commitment to offering unparalleled value to our customers and stakeholders. This acquisition puts us in the unique position of providing North American consumers with the most expansive network of freezing and distribution on the continent. Together, our combined strengths will propel us to new heights, quicker and with renewed vigor.”

About Nature’s Touch

Nature’s Touch, founded in 2004, is a leader in the frozen organic and conventional fruit industry. With freezing and packaging facilities in Canada and the US, Nature’s Touch is dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable, and diverse frozen food products to consumers worldwide. The company is committed to promoting healthy eating habits and adhering to the highest standards of food safety and quality.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta (Nasdaq: STKL) (TSX: SOY) is a U.S.-based, global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based food and beverages. Founded nearly 50 years ago, SunOpta manufactures natural, organic and specialty products sold through retail and foodservice channels. SunOpta operates as a manufacturer for leading natural and private label brands, and also proudly produces its own brands, including SOWN®, Dream®, and West Life™. For more information, visit www.sunopta.com, and LinkedIn and Twitter.

SOURCE Nature’s Touch