SunOpta: Corporate Update
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SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta") (STKL) (SOY.TO), a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified and specialty foods, provided a corporate update on its efforts aimed at improving operational performance, accelerating growth and enhancing shareholder value.
Financial and Legal Advisors
The Company has maintained an ongoing dialogue with its largest shareholders. Recently, management and some members of the Board of Directors met directly with many of the Company’s largest shareholders, including Tourbillon Capital Partners. Following these consultations and reflecting the views expressed by a number of these large shareholders, including that now is not the right time to commence an outright sale of the Company, the Board of Directors has hired Rothschild Inc., supported by legal advisors Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, to review the Company’s operating plan and evaluate a complete range of strategic and financial actions that SunOpta could undertake to maximize shareholder value. There is no set timetable for the completion of this review process. SunOpta does not intend to disclose or comment on its review, unless and until the Board of Directors approves a specific action, or otherwise concludes its review.
Board of Directors
The SunOpta Nominating and Governance Committee has been working to identify director candidates who can add additional operating, industry and capital markets experience and expertise to the Board of Directors. Encouraged by Tourbillon Capital Partners and other major shareholders, SunOpta also announced today that its Board of Directors has hired Russell Reynolds Associates, a global executive search, assessment and succession planning firm, to assist in identifying director candidates, including potential candidates that have been brought forward by shareholders.
SunOpta announced that oversight of Quality Assurance has been transferred from the Company’s operations department to Jim Gratzek, Senior Vice President, Research and Development. Gratzek has extensive experience in food quality, process improvement and technology development and is charged with significantly enhancing the Company’s food quality and safety processes and procedures. He will also continue to lead SunOpta’s Research and Development efforts. “The same disciplined, focused approach which Jim has employed so successfully in our R&D function will help us to more rapidly address the process challenges at the root of our recent quality issues. This change will also allow our operations teams to more single-mindedly focus on efficiency improvements in our plants and in our global supply chain, thereby enhancing our ability to achieve our stated goal of increasing gross margins,” commented Rik Jacobs, SunOpta President and Chief Executive Officer.
“With these steps today, we are responding to our shareholders and taking the necessary steps to review SunOpta’s strategic opportunities and improve the Company’s operational performance to create value for all shareholders,” stated SunOpta Board of Directors Chairman Alan Murray.
“We believe SunOpta has a unique and enviable position in the market and has the potential to create increased value for all our shareholders,” said Jacobs. "These announcements today enhance SunOpta’s ability to achieve operational excellence, maintain financial discipline and pursue innovation to drive growth.”
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified (“non-GMO”) and specialty foods. SunOpta specializes in the sourcing, processing and packaging of organic and non-GMO food products, integrated from seed through packaged products; with a focus on strategic vertically integrated business models. SunOpta's organic and non-GMO food operations revolve around value-added grain, seed, fruit and vegetable based product offerings, supported by a global sourcing and supply infrastructure.
Rob Litt, 952-893-7863