United Natural Foods to acquire SunOpta unit

by Eric Schroeder
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods, Inc., Canada’s largest distributor of organic, natural, kosher and specialty foods, has agreed to acquire the Canadian food distribution assets of the SunOpta Distribution Group (S.D.G.) for approximately C$68 million ($66.5 million) in cash. Once the transaction closes in early June the business will be operated through a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Natural Foods and will operate in Canada as UNFI Canada, Inc.

“This acquisition is the latest step in our strategy to grow our Specialty Foods and Organic business,” said Steve Spinner, president and chief executive officer of United Natural Foods. “We are excited about entering the dynamic Canadian market and feel terrific about welcoming S.D.G. to our organization.”

The Canadian food distribution assets generated sales of $169.6 million for S.D.G. during fiscal 2009, while the natural health products distribution and manufacturing assets generated $67.7 million in fiscal 2009 sales. SunOpta said it will retain the latter business.
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