Olam International Limited to Acquire Universal Blanchers, LLC
Chicago and New York – April 23, 2007 – Olam International Limited (“Olam”), a leading global integrated supply chain manager of agricultural products and food ingredients, today announced that it will acquire 100 percent of the world’s largest independent peanut blancher and ingredient processor, Universal Blanchers, LLC (“Universal”) for a total cash consideration of US $77 million as enterprise value (estimated net equity value of US $72.3 million). This acquisition will enable Olam to expand into peanut blanching and ingredient manufacturing in the United States.
The J.H. Chapman Group, L.L.C. and Rabobank International represented Universal Blanchers, LLC, initiated the transaction and negotiated the terms of the transaction.
Universal, a Georgia-based food ingredient company, is a market leader in outsourced peanut blanching, roasting and bulk manufacturing of peanut butter and paste in the U.S., focusing on meeting the requirements of the snack and confectionery industry.
Major customers include large shellers such as Birdsong and Golden Peanut, as well as branded food manufacturers such as Hersheys, Mars, Kraft Foods, General Mills, Kelloggs, Nestle and J.B. Sanfilippo. Universal owns and manages five modern efficient plants located in Blakely, Sylvester (Georgia), Dublin (Texas), and Edenton (North Carolina), within the three major peanut growing regions in the U.S.
Olam’s Group Managing Director and CEO Sunny Verghese said: “We are excited about the growth prospects and potential synergies Universal Blanchers brings to Olam, particularly in our expansion plans into the ingredients segment for our edible nuts business”.
Chief Executive of Universal, Michael Fisher, concurred: “We are equally excited about Universal Blanchers’ next phase of growth and its expansion into a larger edible nuts business. Olam has a dominant market share in the world cashew trade. By combining Universal’s processing solutions in ingredient manufacturing with Olam’s strengths in origination and marketing of cashews and other edible nuts, we can offer our customers greater value in terms of global sourcing, product range, quality and customization.”
Robert Feerick, Chairman of Horizon Partners, a private investment company which acquired Universal in 1999 and is currently the largest shareholder in Universal, explained the sale: “The combination of Universal Blanchers and Olam’s peanut operations will allow us to better serve customers globally. Olam’s broader nut product offerings, worldwide sourcing capabilities, and complementary customers will allow Universal to accelerate its sales growth in the future.”
About Olam International – Olam is a leading global integrated supply chain manager of agricultural products and food ingredients, sourcing 14 products with a direct presence in over 52 countries and supplying them to over 3,800 customers in more than 55 destination markets. With direct sourcing and processing in most major producing countries for its various products, Olam has built a global leadership position in many of its businesses, including cocoa, coffee, cashew, sesame, rice, cotton and teak wood. Headquartered in Singapore and listed on the SGX-ST on February 11, 2005, it currently ranks among the top 40 largest listed companies in Singapore in terms of market capitalization and is now a component stock in the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI). More information on Olam can be found at www.olamonline.com.
About Universal Blanchers – Founded in 1978, Universal Blanchers is a food ingredient company focusing on supplying ingredients and processing solutions to the peanut industry. It is the largest independent peanut blancher in the world and is a leader in the U.S. in outsourced blanching, roasting and bulk peanut butter and paste for the confectionery and snack foods markets. Headquartered in Georgia, Universal Blanchers was purchased by the current owners in October 1999, and since that time, the business has grown to include five peanut processing plants with key facilities in every major U.S. peanut growing region. More can be found at www.universalblanchers.com.
About J.H. Chapman Group, L.L.C. – The J.H. Chapman Group is a leading investment banking firm in the food industry, with offices in Chicago and Paris, offering a full range of financial advisory services to the food industry in the United States and internationally. For more information, visit www.jhchapman.com.
About Rabobank International – Rabobank International, the premier financier to the global food and agribusiness industry with offices in 38 countries, has more than 60 M&A advisory professionals worldwide focused exclusively on the food and agribusiness industry. For more information, visit www.rabobank.com.