SunOpta’s Dahlgren acquisition creates huge confection sunflower business

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food Sunopta

Canadian natural and organics group SunOpta’s acquisition of Dalgren and company for $44m in cash will create one of the world’s largest confection sunflower businesses.

A spokesperson for SunOpta told “The acquisition of Dahlgren & Company, Inc. is consistent with SunOpta’s strategy to grow our core value-added natural and organic foods platform. Dahlgren is profitable and synergistic and a great fit with existing SunOpta operations.”

Healthy products

A company statement added: The acquisition “…positions SunOpta as a leading worldwide confection sunflower player,” ​and would increase the focus on value-added healthy products.

Dalgren, based in Crookston, Minnesota, supplies raw and roasted sunflower products for the snack, baking, cereal and food ingredient industries.

Products include confection sunflower seed including in-shell and kernel products, roasted sunflower and soy nuts, bird food, hybrid seed and other items.

The company, with revenues of $80m, offers custom processing, roasting, flavoring, and packaging of sunflower products supplying customers in every US state and more than 30 countries worldwide, according to the company’s website. Overseas sales account for about 40 percent of total sales.

Dahlgren's three owners, industry veterans Thomas Miller, Charles Considine and Timothy Egeland, will remain with the business.

Tom Miller, Dahlgren CEO said: "We are excited to be joining forces with SunOpta as we believe our companies have similar values, a common understanding of our markets and products, and a commitment to product innovation and customer service​."

Vertically integrated

SunOpta’s president and CEO, Steve Bromley said: "The combination of Dahlgren's extensive vertically integrated capabilities in confection sunflower with our existing sunflower operations creates a leading worldwide confection sunflower business, with a focus on vertically integrated and value-added healthy food products.

This acquisition is consistent with our strategy to grow our core value-added natural and organic foods platform, creating strong market positions in niche categories, while at the same time continuing to focus on continuous improvement and the divestiture of non-core businesses​."

The transaction was financed through existing bank facilitities.

Meanwhile in June, SunOpta completed the sale of its Canadian food distribution business to United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) for C$68m.

UNFI already distributes 60,000 food products throughout Canada.

Bromley said at the time: "Completing this divestiture is an important step in our strategy to focus on our core food manufacturing platform, strengthening our balance sheet and positioning the company for the future.”

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