Cargill has reached an agreement to acquire Pro-Pet, an Ohio-based manufacturer of private label and co-manufactured pet foods, including premium dog food brand Black Gold. The acquisition makes Cargill a supplier of both animal feed and pet food offerings in the agricultural retail space.
Harris Williams & Co., a middle market investment bank, announced the pending sale of Pro-Pet to Cargill, and members of Harris Williams & Co Consumer Group will be leading the transaction. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, subject to customary approvals. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Pro-Pet’s commitment to high-quality, safe pet food and passion for the pet food business is the perfect fit for our Cargill Animal Nutrition business, and allows us to better serve our customers seeking a focused supplier for both animal feed and pet food options,” said Pilar Cruz, president, Cargill Feed and Nutrition, in a press release.
Pro-Pet has more than 150 employees and three pet food manufacturing facilities in Owatonna, Minnesota, St. Marys, Ohio and Kansas City, Kansas. Pro-Pet provides Cargill with increased production capacity and proximity to existing agricultural retail customers to better meet their growth needs within pet food.
“Cargill’s vast resources and competency in sourcing of commodities, along with their reputation in the agricultural retail business sector, makes Cargill the natural and best partner for Pro-Pet,” said Jim Wiegmann, president and CEO of Pro-Pet, in a press release. “There is no organization that can leverage the strengths and capabilities of Pro-Pet better than Cargill, which will enhance our ability to serve retail partners and pet food brand owners.”
Pet food is a top-growing category among agriculture retailers with an estimated eight percent distribution share, in a space that continues to evolve with changing consumer preferences.
“The pet food category continues to change, as indicated by the increased focus on premium offerings,” said Mark Lueking, U.S. managing director, Cargill Feed and Nutrition, in a press release. “Pro-Pet has the capability to satisfy this market need, and our mutual passion for serving customers make us a strong cultural fit. We look forward to growing the business together by delivering a range of options to meet customer demand.”
Currently, Cargill operates 50 animal feed production and distribution facilities across the US, offering branded and private label pet food to agriculture retailer customers.
Cargill is also expanding its presence in Ohio with a US$50 million investment in a new premix and nutrition plant in Lewisburg. Cargill has already broken ground on the 220,000-square-foot facility, which will sit on the same site as its current operation on State Route 503. The expansion will be completed in spring 2019.
By Lindsay Beaton
Giving back is a significant part of the pet food industry, and companies focused on philanthropy want to make connections, not just donations.
By Ann Reus