WINNIPEG — Legumex Walker's battered shares shot up Monday after the Winnipeg-based handler of canola and specialty food crops said it hopes to sell its main assets for C$174.6 million and then wind up operations.
Legumex stock closed up $1.30 or more than 1.44 per cent at $2.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in heavy volume of more than 3.3 million shares.
They had closed Friday at 90 cents although routinely traded above $2.20 a share until late July when creditors demanded full repayment of about US$54.6 million, which was secured by a U.S. canola plant.
The company announced Monday that it has agreed to sell its special crops division — which handles sunflower seeds, flax, canary seed and pulses, which include lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas — to the Scoular Company.
Scoular has agreed to pay C$94 million cash, plus working capital at the time the deal closes, for a total of $174.6 million.
Legumex also said Monday that it has a more preliminary deal with an unidentified party to divest its 84 per cent stake in Pacific Coast Canola LLC.
Legumex said that AgCountry Farm Credit Services has agreed to provide time for the PCC deal to be finalized but it doesn't expect to receive any value from that transaction.
If the transactions close as anticipated, Legumex Walker plans to wind up its business and distribute between $2.50 to $2.75 per share to shareholders after repayment of banking debt and other obligations.
Pacific Coast Canola arranged US$45 million of additional credit in early 2014 to help fund expanded output of canola meal and canola oil, which was the focus of Legumex's strategic partnership with Scoular.
In addition to agreeing to market and distribute PCC's canola oil and meal, Scoular invested $16.5 million in Legumex through a convertible debenture, which could be exchanged for common shares at a rate of $6.75 each.
Scoular is a 123-year-old grain company headquartered in Omaha, Neb., with about $6 billion in annual sales. It has 130 independent business units and more than 850 employees involving in grain trading, handling and storage.
"We expect to operate Scoular Special Crops much like LWI operates the business today, but with the financial capacity to expand operations, product lines and distribution channels," Scoular chief operating officer Bob Ludington said in a joint statement Monday with Legumex.
"As a result, we will be able to provide additional value to Canadian producers and pursue opportunities to serve a global customer base seeking specialty products associated with healthy food trends.”