LifeLine Foods sells $25 million in preferred stock

by Josh Sosland
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ST. JOSEPH -- LifeLine Foods, a corn processor for the food, fuel, feed and industrials sectors, has announced completion of a financial restructuring. According to the company, the sale of $25 million in preferred stock to existing shareholders will give the company a capital infusion needed to fund LifeLine’s turnaround plan initiated a year ago.

More specifically, LifeLine said the funds would allow the company to modernize its milling infrastructure while providing working capital and paying down debt.

 “In addition to strengthening our financial health, the mill upgrade will be transformative for our business,” said Jay Lang, chief financial officer of LifeLine.  “We received great support from our two equity holders, ICM and Agramarke Quality Grains.

ICM is a Colwich, Kas.-based company involved in renewable fuels equipment. AgraMarke is a farmer owned cooperative.

Robin Venn, chief executive officer of LifeLine, said the investment will give the company the ability to grow sales in the food sector while capitalizing on ethanol markets when the economics are favorable.

“LifeLine Foods must become a food-first business,” he said. “With the upgraded mill, we can double the conversion of corn to food. LifeLine selected Buhler, Inc., the world’s most technologically advanced milling company, for engineering and world class equipment.”

The LifeLine complex has milling roots dating to early in the 20th century, first as Aunt Jemima Mills and later as part of Quaker Oats Co. When Quaker closed and sold the facility 2000, it was one of the largest diversified milling complexes in the United States with a wheat, corn and oat mill, as well as a cereal and pancake mix plant, and a 5-million-bu grain elevator.

 “We are excited to be selected to install a state-of-the-art corn mill in North America,” said Rene Steiner, president of Buhler North America. “LifeLine’s unique approach to producing food and then upgrading the residual hominy stream to produce fuels and livestock feed is very compelling.”

In addition to selling the preferred stock, LifeLine established a $20 million revolving credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance NA.

Additionally, $26.5 million in Chapter 100 Bonds were issued with the support of the St. Joseph Economic Development Partnership.  The company will receive partial property tax abatement through 2014.

Ascendant Consulting Partners, LLC, the wholly owned subsidiary of Ascendant Partners, Inc., acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Lifeline Foods in the transaction.
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