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SunOpta Sells Mineral Business to Become Pure Play Food Operation

Toronto-based SunOpta announced the sale of Opta Minerals to its affiliate, Speyside Equity Fund I LP for C$6.2 million (US$4.5 million), allowing the group to become a pure play organic and health food company. Opta Minerals’ Board of Directors has approved the deal and has recommended that the company’s shareholders vote their approval before the expected closing in early April of this year.

Opta Minerals is an international provider of industrial mineral products for the steel, foundry, abrasive cleaner, water-jet cutting, and filtration industries.

SunOpta is a vertically integrated sourcing, processing, and packaging company of organic, non-GMO and specialty foods, with its operations focused on value-added grains, and fruit and vegetable-based products.

“Following completion of the deal, our entire team will be able to focus solely on the growth and strategic priorities of our vertically-integrated international foods business, and the sale will further simplify our reporting. In addition to the greater financial flexibility created by our new expanded credit facility, our balance sheet will no longer reflect the debt associated with Opta Minerals,” said Rik Jacobs, President and CEO of SunOpta.

Of the total sale price, C$4.2 million will be a cash payment, with the balance to be in the form of a subordinated promissory note of Opta Minerals, which will bear 2% interest and mature 30 months post-closing. Additionally, because of the sale, SunOpta is expecting to post a non-cash impairment charge of between $15 million and $17 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, due to a write-down of the carrying value of the asset.

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