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Regina pulse broker buys British pulse trader

One of Europe’s oldest and best-known traders of pulse crops and birdseeds is under new ownership in Saskatchewan.

Pulse crop processor and exporter Alliance Grain Traders of Regina announced Monday it has bought A. Poortman (London) Ltd. Group for about 8.3 million pounds (C$13.5 million) plus a commitment of C$2 million toward expansion work on Poortmans’ pulse and bean processing plant in Tianjin, China, about 130 km southeast of Beijing.

Poortmans, which operates offices in London, the Netherlands and China, “has an established presence with many of the leading European canners and packagers as well as pulses and birdseed ingredient users,” Alliance CEO Murad Al-Katib said in the company’s release.

“Among other things, (the deal) gives us a processing presence in China, one of the world’s most important dry bean exporting regions.”

Owning Poortmans is also expected to boost Alliance’s distribution platform in Europe and its ability to source beans, lentils, chickpeas and birdseeds worldwide, Al-Katib said.

The company was acquired from its managing director Andrew Jacobs and from Trinidad Benham Corp., a Denver-based packaged foods firm that processes beans, rice and popcorn varieties, operating 16 packaging and processing plants in seven U.S. states.

“The strength of (Alliance’s) origination and global operations will greatly enhance Poortmans’ future growth and development as a multi-origin supplier of pulses and birdseed ingredients to the quality conscious markets of the world,” said Jacobs, who will remain with Poortmans in a management role.

Trinidad Benham CEO Carl Hartman said the company plans to continue a trading relationship both with Poortmans and with Alliance companies including Saskcan Pulse Trading.

“We have enjoyed a successful nine-year partnership with Poortmans and we are pleased the acquisition was made by a strategic buyer in our industry,” Hartman said, adding that the deal will allow Trinidad Benham “to invest capital in our core business” in the U.S.

Poortmans’ balance sheet also includes net working capital of about five million pounds (C$8.1 million), Alliance noted.

Alliance handles cleaning, splitting, sorting and bagging of pulses and specialty crops including lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas and canaryseed for both export and domestic markets through facilities in Canada, the U.S., Turkey and Australia.

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