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Brief: Benson Hill acquires soy processor for $102m

January 7, 2022

  • US crop genetics company Benson Hill has acquired Iowan soy processing firm ZFS Creston in a deal worth approximately $102 million, which was primarily financed through a committed debt facility led by Avenue Capital Group.
  • St Louis-based Benson Hill – which is developing gene-edited and selectively-bred versions of crops used in alt-protein and animal feed production – said the acquisition will help it “convert its proprietary soybeans into value-added soy protein ingredients for the underserved human and pet food categories.”
  • The ZFS Creston facility produces soy meal, oil, and food-grade white flake, flour, and grits, which can be used as ingredients or raw materials for the production of various concentrates, isolates, and textured protein products.

Why it matters:

Constructing requisite soybean crushing and processing capacity from scratch would require substantial capital expenditure and time. But by purchasing an existing facility, Benson Hill can bring ingredients made from its soy varieties to market much more rapidly.

“The acquisition of ZFS Creston, combined with our proprietary Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties, positions Benson Hill to deliver a portfolio of improved ingredients [for] the rapidly growing, but capacity-constrained, plant-based movement,” CEO Matt Crisp said in a statement.

“[The deal] advances our integrated business model as a more efficient route to market with a smaller footprint that better aligns with consumer preferences, enabling us to harness the genetic potential of plants and help scale the growth of plant-based markets.”

Benson Hill’s purchase of ZFS Creston complements its earlier acquisition of a soy crushing facility in Seymour, Indiana.

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