Sam Zell’s EIG acquires minority stake in ILTA Grain

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By Ted Liu

Equity Group Investments (EGI), the private investment firm of Sam Zell, has made an investment in ILTA Grain, a Surrey BC based originator, processor and exporter of pulse crops.

ILTA Grain is majority owned by Tillridge Global Agribusiness Partners, an agribusiness private equity firm and an affiliate of NGP Energy Capital Management, LLC.

In conjunction with the investment, Joe McIntosh, EGI’s Managing Director at the firm, will assume a seat on ILTA’s board of directors.

ILTA processes and distributes pulses (e.g. peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans), and exports them to customers in over 40 countries. Demand for pulses, which are GMO-free, gluten-free, and a cost-efficient source of protein and fiber, is growing steadily due to population growth in emerging markets and consumer preferences for healthier lifestyles in developed countries.

With six locations in Saskatchewan (Swift Current, Cutknife, North Battleford – 2 plants, Saskatoon, and Belle Plaine (under construction), ILTA handles all types and varieties of pulses and oilseeds.

“We are attracted to the long-term growth trend of this industry,” said Zell, founder and chairman of EGI. “ILTA is a high-quality, low-cost leader with advanced facilities and a seasoned leadership team. We look forward to partnering with management and the existing investors to continue to drive growth and value.”

As the largest exporter of pulses in the world, Canada has experienced pulse production growth of 2.5 times in the last 10 years, and now represents 60% of global pulse exports.

“We welcome EGI as an investment partner,” said Dan Burneski, ILTA’s President & CEO. “The firm’s financial support and long history of adding value to its investments will enhance our ability to expand our footprint in a global marketplace with strong demand for our products.”

Founded by Sam Zell nearly 50 years ago, Equity Group Investments specializes in opportunistic investments across the debt and equity markets. EGI has extensive experience in energy, industrial, manufacturing, logistics and transportation, business services, communications, health care and real estate.

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