Sept. 7, 2011, 7:18 a.m. EDT
SunOpta Announces Strategic Review of Opta Minerals Inc.
TORONTO, Sep 7, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta") /quotes/zigman/29095/quotes/nls/stkl STKL +5.23% /quotes/zigman/29108 CA:SOY +3.06% today announced that, following discussions with SunOpta, the Board of Directors of Opta Minerals Inc. ("Opta Minerals") /quotes/zigman/32882 CA:OPM +0.95% has commenced a process to identify and review strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. SunOpta owns 66.4% of Opta Minerals and approximately 64% on a fully-diluted basis. The Board of Directors of Opta Minerals has retained Canaccord Genuity Corp. to act as exclusive financial advisor in the strategic review process.
Jeremy Kendall, Chairman of SunOpta stated, "We are very supportive of the management team at Opta Minerals, which has delivered an excellent track record of increasing revenue and EBITDA over the past decade. However, as a result of a limited public float and thus very low trading volumes, Opta Minerals has limited access to the capital markets and we do not believe that the market properly reflects Opta Minerals' financial performance and future growth opportunities. Consequently, SunOpta supports the decision to complete the review of strategic alternatives with the goal of enhancing shareholder value."
Steve Bromley, President and CEO of SunOpta, added, "Among other possibilities, the strategic review process could result in a sale of Opta Minerals. This would be consistent with SunOpta's strategy to focus on our core natural and organic value-added foods business. In this regard we have divested three non-core assets including our Canadian Food Distribution assets, SunOpta BioProcess Inc. and certain California and Mexican based assets within our Fruit Group, all in an effort to streamline and simplify our business model. At the same time we have continued to invest in, and grow our natural and organic foods business via a number of internal growth projects and the acquisition of three businesses including Dahlgren's, a vertically integrated producer of confection sunflower products, Edner of Nevada, a producer of nutritious portable snack bars, and Lorton's Fresh Squeezed Juice, a vertically integrated producer of citrus based products ."
As stated in the press release by Opta Minerals, there is no defined timeline for the strategic alternatives review and there can be no assurance that the review of strategic alternatives will result in any specific action. SunOpta does not intend to comment further regarding the evaluation of strategic alternatives, unless a specific transaction or process is formally agreed to, or it otherwise deems further disclosure is appropriate or required.