LifeLine Foods, LLC, based in St. Joseph, MO, announced the successful completion of its $25 million sale of preferred stock. The capital injection is a major milestone for LifeLine’s new management team and a turnaround plan that began over one year ago.
The investment supports the expansion of LLF’s food business, allowing the company to meet increased demand for its food products; positions it to maximize its profitability in both the food and ethanol markets; funds new equipment to upgrade mill efficiency; and provides additional working capital; and pays down debt.
“In addition to strengthening our financial health, the mill upgrade will be transformative for our business,” said Jay Lang, CFO of LifeLine. “We received great support from our two equity holders, ICM and Agramarke Quality Grains.”
“ICM (a Colwich, Kansas-based renewable fuels design and build firm) is committed to the innovative food and renewable fuel processes LifeLine has created and to growing its market presence,” said ICM president Dave VanderGriend.
“Since AgraMarke purchased the former Quaker Oats facility in 2001, LifeLine has added value for all area producers by strengthening local demand for corn and allowing our members to become vertically integrated in food and fuel production,” said John Howard, Vice Chairman of AgraMarke Quality Grains and Hiawatha, Kan. corn producer. Agramarke Quality Grains is a Missouri corn cooperative consisting of over 600 area producers.
“LifeLine Foods must become a food-first business. With the upgraded mill, we can double the conversion of corn to food,” said Robin Venn, LifeLine Foods’ CEO. “LifeLine selected Buhler, Inc., the world’s most technologically advanced milling company, for engineering and world class equipment.”
Rene Steiner, president of Buhler Group North America, added, “We are excited to be selected to install a state-of-the-art corn mill in 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, LifeLine established a $20M revolving credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance NA, an industry leader in agricultural finance.
Finally, $26.5M in Chapter 100 Bonds were issued with the support of the St. Joseph Economic Development Partnership. This program provides partial property tax abatement on the new investment through 2014. The bonds were issued through the city of St. Joseph, in cooperation with other taxing jurisdictions, including Buchanan County and St. Joseph School District.
“The St. Joseph Economic Development Partnership recognizes the importance of continued investment and job growth in area businesses," said Brad Lau, St. Joseph Metro Chamber Director of Business Development. "The Chapter 100 program encourages companies like LifeLine to invest in local facilities.”
“LifeLine’s management team developed a turnaround plan that ensures LifeLine Foods is an industry leader in the food, fuel, and feed markets. “This capital investment enables the company to grow the more-profitable food business and flexibility to capitalize on ethanol markets when conditions are favorable,” Venn concluded.