Olam International secures multi-million deal for California Almond business Hughson Nut Inc

The Almond Board of California commits to four new sustainability pledges

A major investment from global food and agri-business Olam International has been made with the complete acquisition of Californian almond processor and ingredient manufacturer Hughson Nut Inc (HNI) and associated real estate assets from APB Partners, for a sum of US$54 million.

The price consideration was arrived at on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis, which will add to Olam’s extensive existing portfolio, which includes other orchards in California and Australia – delivering year-round fresh almonds to customers. The nut variety remains particularly strong within the confectionery sector, and has retained its standing as being the number one inclusion for new product releases.

As the company noted, the additional processing capabilities of its newly acquired firm will enable Olam to offer a fully integrated solution across the almond value chain from the US, including processed whole nuts and value added ingredients, complementing similar capabilities in Australia and Vietnam.

HNI ranks among the top five almond processors in California. Besides its two primary processing facilities, HNI also manufactures almond ingredients, such as sliced and diced almonds and almond flour in its newly commissioned ingredients processing plant, which also houses steam sterilisation and pasteurisation facilities.

Backed by three almond grower-family shareholders of APB, HNI has built a strong customer franchise in the U.S. and a growing customer base in the EU, Japan and Korea, which include branded food manufacturers, retailers and exporters.

The acquisition of HNI is consistent with Olam’s Strategic Plan to offer differentiated solutions, such as ingredients and product innovation, and to target new customer segments in co-manufacturing, food service and e-commerce.

Olam’s Managing Director and CEO of Edible Nuts, Ashok Krishen explained: “Our ambition is to grow Olam’s almond business into a vertically integrated player with a strong upstream presence in Australia and the U.S. and direct participation in the primary and ingredient processing space that can add value to our customers. We see growing demand from consumers for healthy snacks and healthy plant protein – this is driving growth in new product applications and therefore the demand for almond ingredients, particularly in the U.S..

“Combining HNI’s processing capabilities with Olam’s global network and Edible Nuts expertise will enhance our offering to customers and enable us to meet growing demand, in and outside the U.S.,” he added.

Olam is one of the leading providers of edible nuts with global network of procurement, processing and distribution operations across a portfolio which includes almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, sesame, quinoa and chia.

Post Olam’s acquisition, HNI’s senior executive team and its 400 employees will continue to manage the existing operations and grow the ingredients business while leveraging and benefitting from the synergies and capabilities of the combined business. The grower-family vendors will also continue to supply HNI with almonds for processing.

The acquisition will be funded by a combination of internal accruals and existing debt facilities. Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in November 2019. It is also expected to be earnings and returns accretive from the first year after consolidation.

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