Legumex sheds stake in Sask. pulse plant

The majority owners of a pulse and special crop processing plant in south-central Saskatchewan have bought an outstanding one-fifth stake.

Winnipeg-based crop processing firm Legumex Walker on Tuesday announced a deal to sell its 20 per cent share of Blue Hills Processors (BHPL) at Avonlea, Sask. to the company’s majority owners for $1.8 million.

Publicly-traded Legumex said the move is part of its plan to "optimize its wholly-owned processing capacity," following its creation last July from the merger of Manitoba processor Roy Legumex and Saskatchewan-based Walker Seeds.

BHPL bills itself as "one of Canada’s largest and most innovative special crops processing facilities," mainly in the business of sourcing field peas, lentils and chickpeas, and cleaning, sizing, bagging and bulk- and container-loading those crops for sale.

The plant at Avonlea, about 70 km southeast of Moose Jaw, also handles other crops such as canaryseed, fababeans and flax.

Walker Seeds had originally bought the 20 per cent share in Blue Hills for about $440,000 after the BHPL plant at Avonlea was built in 2003, Legumex noted Tuesday.

"Our relationship with Blue Hills has served us well for a number of years as we’ve been both a substantial minority investor and — at times — its largest customer," Legumex CFO Anthony Kulbacki said in a release.

"Because of our progress in optimizing our own processing capabilities, we will be better positioned to meet our processing needs through internal resources. As a result, it’s the right time to monetize our investment in Blue Hills and redeploy the capital elsewhere."

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