MissionIR News - SunOpta Announces Opta Minerals’ Acquisition of Babco Industrial

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Acquisition complements Opta’s current offerings, positions it for extended market reach

MissionIR would like to highlight SunOpta Inc., a publicly traded company focused on natural, organic, and specialty foods products. The company specializes in sourcing, processing, and packaging of natural and organic food products, integrated from seed through packaged products, with strategically vertically integrated business models. The company's core natural and organic food operations focus on value-added grains, fiber and fruit based product offerings, supported by a global infrastructure. SunOpta owns approximately 66.4 percent of Opta Minerals outstanding common shares.

In the company’s news yesterday,

SunOpta announced that Opta Minerals Inc. has acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Babco Industrial Corp., an industrial processor and supplier of petroleum coke, synthetic slag, ladle sand and crushed graphite.

Opta provides custom process optimization solutions and related materials for use primarily in the steel, foundry, loose abrasive cleaning and municipal water filtration industries. The announced acquisition is complementary to Opta’s current product portfolio and positions the company to strengthen its regional market penetration.

“We are very pleased to have completed this transaction. Babco is a great strategic fit and will be easily integrated with our other mill and foundry businesses, further expanding our geographic reach and customers serviced within Canada and the United States,” David Kruse, president and CEO of Opta, stated in the press release. “We welcome the employees of Babco to the Opta Minerals team.”

SunOpta owns approximately 66.4 percent of Opta’s outstanding common shares and approximately 64 percent on a fully-diluted basis. Opta paid approximately $17.6 million in cash for the acquisition of Babco shares, and will pay an additional $1.3 million in cash pursuant to a contingent five-year earn-out if Babco achieves certain EBITDA targets. SunOpta expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to both Opta’s and SunOpta’s earnings.

Babco’s facility has capacity for further growth and is located in close proximity to its key vendors and customers. The company is technologically advanced with respect to product and manufacturing techniques, which Opta may leverage at other facilities.

Steve Bromley, president and CEO of SunOpta, said the addition of Babco increases Opta’s position in the mill and foundry business, and offered a brief recap of Opta’s growth strategy.

“We are very pleased with Opta’s acquisition of Babco, a profitable and strategic operation that will expand the company’s existing mill and foundry business. As we noted in our December 22, 2011, press release, the suspension of the strategic review process by the board of directors of Opta was due in part to the belief that a number of near-term growth opportunities, when completed, would increase Opta’s overall value. In late 2011, Opta completed the acquisition of Inland RC, LLC, a supplier to the mill and foundry industry located in Cleveland, Ohio, and now the acquisition of Babco. We are confident that this acquisition combined with other initiatives should result in increased shareholder value in Opta and we will continue to assess options for the Opta business in the future,” Bromley stated.

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Forward-Looking Statement:
This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain as they are based on current expectations and assumptions concerning future events or future performance of the company. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are only predictions and speak only as of the date hereof. Risks and uncertainties applicable to the company and its business could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those indicated in any forward-looking statements.

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