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Board Changes and Acquisitions at AgFeed

by 5m Editor
18 July 2011, at 9:51am

US & CHINA - AgFeed Industries, Inc. has announced a new Board appointment, executive changes and acquisitions agreements in the further processing sector.

AgFeed Industries, Inc., an international agribusiness with operations in the US and China, has announced organisational changes and acquisitions agreements in fulfillment of its previously announced entry to the harvest and processing segment of the pork business.

In connection with the ongoing transformation of the Company, the Board of Directors has announced executive promotions and reassignments. In addition the Board elected a new independent director. These organisational changes are intended to align the Company's personnel with its continued transformation, allowing it to respond to the changing international operating environment and its strategy of operating at numerous points of the pork value/supply chain.

John A. Stadler, AgFeed's Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer, stated: "Our vision is to align global production resources to supply safe pork and pork products to the consumer through our branded pork processor customers. These executive changes and acquisition opportunities represent the natural progression of the strategic direction initiated during the spring of 2010, and first fully visible through the acquisition of M2P2, to develop an integrated, controlled, production system that would allow us to capture earnings throughout the international hog/pork production process."

The Board has appointed one of its current members, K. Ivan F. Gothner, as Vice Chairman to work alongside Mr Stadler in the ongoing transformation, development and growth of the Company. In addition, Glenn McClelland, the current President and CEO of the Company's US-based hog production business, M2P2, has been appointed our Chief Operating Officer, while Clay Marshall, the current CFO of M2P2, has been appointed its Chief Financial Officer.

Mr Gothner commented: "We are all on a mission to establish AgFeed as the leader in supplying an expanding base of global customers with the highest quality pork while demonstrating leadership in food safety, production efficiency, sustainability and environmental stewardship."

In addition to these executive changes, the Board appointed David Michael Johnson as a director. Mr. Johnson is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cattlco, LLC, which is among the 25 largest cattle feeding operations in the United States. Prior to becoming president and chief executive officer of Cattlco, Mr Johnson held executive positions with privately held companies involved in natural resources, agribusinesses and real estate.

The Company also announces that it has entered into separate non-binding letters of intent to acquire Pine Ridge Farms, LLC (PRF) and Kansas City Sausage Company, LLC (KCS). It is expected that the combined businesses will add over $180 million of annual revenue and over $13 million of EBITDA to the Company's results.

These acquisitions represent AgFeed's entry into the harvest and processing segment of the pork business and will provide the base of human resources necessary to expand this business and develop this segment of our business as an adjunct to the western-style hog farms under development in China. This processing capability is the necessary precursor to the Company's global market strategy.

PRF, located in Des Moines, Iowa is a leading specialty hog processing facility established in January 2004. It has processing capacity of more than 3,000 animals per day. PRF manufactures pre-rigor for sausage, fresh and frozen pork products and private label products. To minimise the earnings volatility common to commodity businesses PRF has initiated a series of innovative projects and initiatives including processing pork hides, custom ham boning operations and butcher pork processing for a major pork production company. PRF currently exports products to China and other Pacific Rim countries.

KCS located in Kansas City, Kansas, started operations in late 2009 and is arguably one of the newest and most efficient and well-designed sausage facilities in the United States. KCS is a private label sausage company focused on its customer with the upmost confidence regarding food safety, cost-effectiveness, price stability and market performance. With customers including major retailers and food-service companies, KCS sells products domestically and also exports products to customers in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim.

The transactions will be structured as the sale of assets by PRF and KCS to AgFeed. The completion of these transactions is subject to a number of conditions, including the completion of due diligence, negotiations and execution of definitive agreements, board approvals and financing. Pending transaction completion, PRF and KCS have each agreed that its directors, managers, members, officers, employees and agents will not solicit or participate in other negotiations or discussions, or provide non-public information with respect to any investment in, or acquisition of, PRF and KCS, respectively, or any similar transaction for a certain period of time.