Manitoba Harvest excited about partnership with U.S. firm

Manitoba Harvest, a Winnipeg company and leading manufacturer of hemp foods, has been sold to a U.S. firm.

Compass Diversified Holdings, a Connecticut company that acquires mid-sized firms in niche industries, announced June 8 that it purchased a majority share in Manitoba Harvest for C$132.5 million.

“(The deal) will also include working capital and certain other adjustments upon closing,” Compass said in a news release.

The investment firm will own approximately 89 percent of Manitoba Harvest. Company founder and chief executive officer Mike Fata and other investors will control the re-mainder.

Fata wasn’t available June 8 to comment on the deal. In a statement he said it’s an “exciting moment” for Manitoba Harvest.

“With (Compass Diversified Holdings) proven history of supporting and growing niche market leaders, we are confident that we can further grow market share and continue to offer new innovative hemp-based food products to our customers.”

Alan Offerman, chief executive officer of Compass Diversified Holdings, said Manitoba Harvest is an established player in an expanding marketplace.

“Manitoba Harvest has developed a strong and defensible market position with a loyal customer base and a substantial presence at major retail and online stores,” he said.

“We look forward to working with Mike and his team at Manitoba Harvest, as we focus on penetrating new markets in the U.S. and Canada to further drive the company’s already strong growth trajectory.”

Kelly Saunderson, Manitoba Harvest spokesperson, said the company’s offices and manufacturing will remain in Winnipeg. The hemp foods company realized it needed additional capital about a year ago, to continue its growth, Saunderson said. “After dozens of meetings with potential investors, we partnered with Compass Diversified Holdings.”

Saunderson said the investment will help Manitoba Harvest develop new markets and new customers, which should benefit Western Canadian hemp growers.

“Added resources mean accelerated growth, which is great news for those interested in contracting additional hemp acres. The added capital needed to expand our business means more opportunities for producers.”

Manitoba Harvest reported annual net revenue of approximately C$37.9 million for the year starting from Nov. 30, 2013, an increase of 23.9 percent compared to the previous year.

From Dec. 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015 it had net revenues of $27.6 million.

The company manufactures a line of branded hemp foods, including hemp seed, oil, protein powder and hemp milk.

Manitoba Harvest products are sold in approximately 7,000 retail stores in North America.

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