TORONTO – After meeting with some of its largest shareholders, the board of directors of SunOpta, Inc., said now is not the right time to sell the company. Instead, the company has brought in outside advisors to review the company’s operating plan and make suggestions for maximizing shareholder value.
|Alan Murray, chairman of SunOpta's board of directors|
“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,” said Alan Murray, chairman of the board of directors.
SunOpta is a processor and marketer of ingredients and finished products targeting the organic and non-G.M.O./non-bioengineered food and beverage categories. On May 27, Tourbillon Capital Partners, L.P., the company’s largest shareholder, wrote a letter to the SunOpta’s board urging it to explore options for maximizing shareholder value. Specifically, Tourbillon recommended that outside advisors be brought in to review the company’s strategic plan.
|Jason Karp, c.e.o. and c.i.o. for Tourbillon Capital Partners|
“We have become increasingly concerned that the company may be pursuing an uncertain business plan without a thorough evaluation of all value-maximizing alternatives,” Jason H. Karp, chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Tourbillon Capital Partners, said in the letter.
In response, the company has hired Rothschild, Inc. to evaluate a range of strategic and financial options SunOpta’s board may consider. There is no set schedule for completion of the review process, according to the company.
SunOpta’s board also has begun working to identify director candidates who may bring additional operating, industry and capital markets experience to the board. As part of the effort, SunOpta has hired an executive search firm to identify potential candidates.
|Rik Jacobs, president and c.e.o. of SunOpta|
“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 Rik Jacobs, president and chief executive officer. “These announcements today enhance SunOpta’s ability to achieve operational excellence, maintain financial discipline and pursue innovation to drive growth.”