The United States’ biggest farmer-owned cooperative CHS Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire soy protein company Solbar for $133m, sending share prices in the Israeli company soaring.
Listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, shares in Solbar had risen 97% by close of trade on Thursday, to NIS13.50 (about $3.55). The deal is worth about NIS15, or $4 per share, compared to Wednesday’s closing price of NIS6.84, or about $1.80.
CHS said in a statement on Wednesday that it expects the deal to close during the first quarter of calendar year 2012, dependent on approval from Solbar shareholders and antitrust regulators outside of the United States. CHS is a diversified energy, grains and foods business and a Fortune 100 company, owned by US farmers, ranchers and co-ops, and has been producing and marketing food grade soy proteins for more than 40 years.
CHS spokesperson Lani Jordan told FoodNavigator-USA: "Increasing our presence in grain processing, including soy protein businesses, is among the major CHS strategic goals...Solbar is an excellent addition to CHS existing soy protein businesses and fits well with our current US operations."
Solbar has four production facilities for its soy protein ingredients – two in Israel, one in China and one in South Sioux City, Nebraska, which it acquired in August 2010. It also has a sales office in Oakdale, Minnesota.
Jordan said that CHS intends to retain all Solbar employees and maintain operations at Solbar's existing locations.
Solbar CEO Shaul Shelach said:"CHS’ size and benefits coupled with Solbar's agility and flexibility will provide a good platform to realizing Solbar's full potential...I believe that this change will prove to be a very important mile stone in Solbar’s history… CHS is a company that believes in agricultural processing and the potential of soybeans and soy based products, but mostly they believe in the importance of developing human resources. CHS will lead the further development of Solbar factories and its people."
No one at Solbar was available to provide further comment on the deal prior to publication.