Universal Corporation to Acquire FruitSmart, a Premier Fruit and Vegetable Processor and Supplier
Founded in 1982, FruitSmart supplies a broad set of juices, concentrates, blends, purees, fibers, seed and seed powders, and other value-added products to food, beverage and flavor companies throughout
"Since outlining our capital allocation strategy in
"Given the worldwide addressable market opportunity for fruit and vegetable sourcing and processing, and the similar supplier dynamics and scale benefits to our existing business, this transaction represents a foundational step in building out a broader agri-products services platform and has the potential to be a new source of growth to drive future value creation for our shareholders," Mr. Freeman continued. "With a healthy balance sheet and a demonstrated ability to generate free cash flow,
Mr. Freeman concluded, "FruitSmart is a market leader for reliability of supply, high-quality products and customized solutions. We are excited to work with the talented and highly regarded FruitSmart management team to build on this strong foundation and FruitSmart's demonstrated ability to achieve profitable growth."
FruitSmart is well-positioned to capitalize on recent shifts in market dynamics and consumer behavior including a secular shift towards health and wellness, favoring natural clean-label ingredient producers and the rise of fruit as a natural clean-label sweetener alternative to processed sugar. FruitSmart also stands to benefit from growing consumer interest in better-for-you premium ingredients, including custom blends, not-from-concentrate and dry products, and strong growth in targeted end markets utilizing FruitSmart products, including ciders, purees and nutraceuticals.
J.P. Morgan acted as exclusive financial advisor to
Forward Looking Statements
This release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "anticipate," "assume," "estimate," "expect," "target" "project," "predict," "intend," "plan," "believe," "potential," "may," "should," "would" and similar expressions may identify forward looking information. Forward-looking information in these materials includes, but is not limited to: the acquisition of FruitSmart; the expected closing of the FruitSmart acquisition; and contributions to future earnings. The Company cautions readers that any statements contained herein regarding financial condition, results of operation, and future business plans, operations, opportunities, and prospects for its performance are forward-looking statements based upon management's current knowledge and assumptions about future events, and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any anticipated results, prospects, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, product purchased not meeting quality and quantity requirements; reliance on a few large customers; its ability to maintain effective information technology systems and safeguard confidential information; anticipated levels of demand for and supply of its products and services; costs incurred in providing these products and services; timing of shipments to customers; changes in market structure; government regulation; product taxation; industry consolidation and evolution; changes in exchange rates and interest rates; impacts of regulation and litigation on its customers; industry-specific risks related to its food ingredient business; exposure to certain regulatory and financial risks related to climate change; changes in estimates and assumptions underlying its critical accounting policies; the promulgation and adoption of new accounting standards, new government regulations and interpretation of existing standards and regulations; and general economic, political, market, and weather conditions. Actual results, therefore, could vary from those expected. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties, and other factors can be found in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended
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