WINNIPEG, MAN. — Richardson International Ltd. will invest $220 million in its Wesson Oil production facility in Memphis, Tenn., as part of a multiphase project that will replace the oil production plant with a new refinery to fulfill customer requirements and meet growing global demand for vegetable oil.
When completed, the refinery will modernize the site and significantly increase production and refining capacity. Improved efficiencies also will drive substantial reductions in water, energy, and wastewater volumes, aligning well with Richardson’s focus on responsible and sustainable business operations.
“The Wesson Oil facility in Memphis provides Richardson a strong retail brand and a great location supported by a very dedicated team of employees,” said Tobias Dewey, vice president of oilseed operations at Richardson. “Collectively, these elements provided the confidence to support meaningful investment and innovation in the Memphis plant’s operations, including significantly expanding our industrial and food service offerings. We are excited that this plan will soon become fully realized.”
Richardson, based in Winnipeg, is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds and a vertically integrated processor and manufacturer of oats and canola-based products. Richardson purchased Wesson, a leading US retail brand of canola, corn and vegetable cooking oils, from Conagra Brands Inc. in 2019. The purchase included Wesson’s 280,000-square-foot Memphis production facility.
Expansion and modernization of the Memphis site follows closely behind additional initiatives from Richardson’s oilseed processing division: a three-year expansion project at its facility in Yorkton, Sask., which is more than doubling crushing and refining capability, and an increase in crushing and refining capability at its Lethbridge, Alta., facility.
The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of James Richardson & Sons Ltd., said investments such as these underscore its commitment to delivering efficiency and quality while reducing environmental impact.
“We seek opportunities for enhancing our capabilities and providing an increasingly efficient means for meeting the needs of our food ingredient customers and a broader consumptive marketplace,” said Darrell Sobkow, executive vice president of processing, food, and ingredients at Richardson. “With best-in-class assets, and by leveraging synergies in our integrated network, we are focused on maintaining our reputation as a reliable supplier and a partner of choice.”