TORONTO, Mar 27, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (STKL) (CA:SOY: news, chart, profile) today announced that the SunOpta Fruit Group has expanded strategic relationships in Argentina and Chile and has entered into exclusive agreements to expand supply of key fruit products from these regions.
The Company stated that it has entered into strategic exclusive agreements with reputable local fruit industry leaders to develop supply opportunities in the organic and natural frozen fruit industry. The agreements increase SunOpta's supply of natural and organic strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, apple and pear purees and fruit and vegetable concentrates from an important supply region.
The Company entered into a five year exclusive supply agreement with Baby's Best Infant Food Ingredients S.A., a producer of organic and natural purees and concentrates in Mendoza, Argentina. The agreement ensures SunOpta of a constant and growing source of critical commodities. Under the terms of the agreement, SunOpta will provide a line of credit to enable Baby's Best to acquire a 45,000 square foot production facility in Mendoza to ensure SunOpta's supply chain. In addition, SunOpta received a first right of refusal and an option to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Baby's Best and related companies based on a predetermined formula, exercisable in March 2009.
The Company has also entered into a three year exclusive organic supply agreement with a leading processor of organic and natural frozen fruits in Chile. Under the terms of the agreement SunOpta will finance a capital expansion to further develop growth in critical organic supply over the next three years.
Steve Bromley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta commented that "We have had an excellent relationship with these companies over the past number of years and are delighted to expand these relationships to ensure our customers of a high quality, reliable and growing source of key organic products. These transactions reflect our strategy of extending our international sourcing capabilities for products that are in short supply globally."
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food, supplements and health and beauty markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group (soon to become SunOpta BioProcess Inc.) which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.
Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.