USA- White River Soy Processing, LLC has announced its latest expansion move in the soy processing industry with the acquisition of Benson Hill, Inc.’s Creston, Iowa-based facility for a reported US$72 million. 

The purchase marks White River’s second acquisition from Benson Hill in recent months, signaling a significant expansion of its footprint in the sector.

The Creston plant, which currently employs 55 individuals, specializes in the production of soy meal and oil, along with food-grade soy white flake, flour, and grits, according to Benson Hill’s statement. 

This acquisition follows White River’s purchase of Benson Hill’s soybean processing plant in Seymour, Indiana, US, in late October 2023, a deal valued at approximately US$36 million.

Deanie Elsner, CEO of Benson Hill, highlighted the strategic rationale behind the divestiture, emphasizing the company’s commitment to transition towards an asset-light model with a heightened focus on animal feed markets. 

Elsner explained that the decision to divest supports the strategic plan to reshape the organization and move towards an asset-light business model, with a greater focus on animal feed markets. 

This move also strengthens the company’s balance sheet by reducing capital and operating expenses. With the freed-up resources, the company can now focus on leveraging its core competencies as a technology-enabled seed innovation company.

Acknowledging the hard work and dedication of Creston plant employees, Elsner expressed gratitude for their contributions to Benson Hill and voiced confidence in White River’s ability to maintain the facility’s operational excellence and customer-centric approach.

Commenting on the acquisition, White River leadership conveyed their enthusiasm for the expansion. 

We are pleased to add the Creston facility to our growing portfolio,” stated a spokesperson for White River Soy Processing. “This strategic acquisition aligns with our vision for growth and allows us to further diversify our capabilities in soy processing. We look forward to integrating the Creston plant into our operations and continuing to deliver high-quality products to our customers.

The acquisition underscores White River’s commitment to strengthening its presence in the soy processing industry and positions the company for continued growth and success in the market.

Benson Hill’s improved financial position

In related news, Benson Hill also announced that it retired its senior convertible debt ahead of schedule. Originally targeted for retirement by March 1, 2024, the debt facility had already seen a 50% reduction in senior loan balances by November 2023. 

Moreover, it disclosed that Susan Keefe is named its new chief financial officer, effective March 29, 2024. She succeeds Dean Freeman, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

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