Richardson to buy major U.S. durum processor

Italgrani's milling, grain handling assets to go to Winnipeg firm

The Italgrani USA durum mill at St. Louis, Missouri. (CNW Group/Richardson International)

Agrifood firm Richardson International is set to expand and further diversify its grain processing space with a deal for what’s billed as North America’s single largest durum flour and semolina miller.

The Winnipeg company said Thursday it will buy 100 per cent of the shares in Italgrani USA Inc., whose assets include a mill, elevator and Mississippi River barge-loading facility at St. Louis; three grain elevators in northwestern North Dakota; and a commodity trading desk in Minneapolis.

Privately-held Richardson didn’t release a dollar figure for the deal, but said it expects its purchase agreement to close “immediately” after regulatory approvals are received. Richardson said it would also “retain the current workforce” for the St. Louis-based company.

“This acquisition is fully aligned with our long-term strategic goals of diversification, geographic expansion, and an increased presence in food processing — having gone from canola to oats and now to durum processing,” Richardson CEO Curt Vossen said in a release.

“The significant scale of processing capability of the Italgrani plant, combined with origination opportunities and crop inputs retail facilities… will further enhance the services we will be able to offer to our producer customers, both in Canada and the U.S.”

Italgrani in 2018 completed a major expansion at the St. Louis facility, adding an 8,000-hundredweight capacity milling unit that brought its daily processing output to 28,000 cwt of semolina and/or durum flour — which before grinding translates to about 1,800 tonnes of durum wheat.

Italgrani’s North Dakota elevators — which along with durum handle spring wheat, flax, sunflowers, peas and other crops for domestic and export sales — are within relatively short reach for growers in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.

Those three elevators, which also include retail crop input facilities, are at Powers Lake, about 90 km south of Estevan, Sask.; Tolley, about 75 km south of Carnduff, Sask.; and Benedict, about 150 km south of Lyleton, Man.

Italgrani, which bills itself as “Italian family-founded and -owned,” is today majority-held by Progetto Grano, a Milan-based holding company that bought its controlling stake in 2006.

Italgrani started out of a Minneapolis office in 1979 and expanded to include the St. Louis mill and elevator by 1987. It bought its Mayco Export grain trading and brokerage subsidiary in 1988 and started investing in North Dakota grain handling space in 1989.

“We are confident that Richardson will understand and nurture the unique culture and business qualities that made Italgrani so successful over the years and will contribute to the further growth of the business,” Progetto Grano CEO Ruggero Benedini said Thursday in Richardson’s release. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.


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