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Benson Hill sells Iowa soy processing facility

This transaction, part of the company's transition to an asset-light business model, also includes the successful early retirement of its senior debt.

Buisness Executives Shaking Hands Pixabay

Ag tech company Benson Hill, Inc. has announced the completion of two significant financial transactions aimed at reshaping its business strategy. The company has sold its soy processing operation in Creston, Iowa, to White River Soy Processing (WRSP) for $72 million. This transaction, closed on Feb. 13, 2024, is part of Benson Hill's shift towards an asset-light business model.

The Creston facility, operated under Benson Hill Ingredients, LLC, is an established food-grade soybean processing plant. Its acquisition by White River is a significant addition to the latter’s portfolio, as stated by Walter Cronin, Co-Founder and President of White River. Cronin expressed appreciation for the collaborative efforts from Benson Hill in ensuring a smooth transition, emphasizing their commitment to the Creston team, customers, and community.

With this acquisition, approximately 55 team members from the Creston facility are now employed by White River. The facility will continue its operations seamlessly to fulfill contractual obligations, processing both non-GMO and GMO soybeans. The products from this facility include soybean meal, soy white flake, flour, grits, and soybean oil, catering to both domestic and global markets for food and feed ingredients, as well as the production of concentrates, isolates, and textured soy protein products.

Gordon Glade, Co-Founder of White River, highlighted the acquisition's alignment with their mission to supply better nutritional outcomes and meet the growing demand for high-quality soy protein products. The Creston facility's purchase expands White River’s capabilities, following their acquisition of Benson Hill’s soybean processing facility in Seymour, Indiana, in October 2023. In December 2023, White River also announced the development of a new oilseed processing facility near North Platte, Nebraska.

Meanwhile, Benson Hill has also retired its senior convertible debt earlier than the planned March 1, 2024, deadline. Deanie Elsner, CEO of Benson Hill, stated that these actions support their strategic plan to transition to an asset-light business model with an expanded focus on animal feed markets. The divestiture of the soy processing assets is aimed at strengthening Benson Hill's balance sheet, reducing capital and operating expenditures, and focusing on leveraging its core competencies as a technology-enabled seed innovation company.

White River, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is backed by agricultural-focused investors and boasts a team with extensive experience in grain processing, from plant operations to risk management and finance. The company's growth and expansion reflect its commitment to enhancing its capabilities in the agribusiness sector.

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