Canadian agriculture and food processing company Richardson International has signed an agreement to acquire the Wesson oil brand, currently owned by US-based packaged foods company Conagra Brands.

The acquisition of Wesson is expected to strengthen Richardson’s growth strategy for its food business and complement its position as a vertically integrated canola processor.

Wesson-branded oils have been used for cooking and baking applications for more than a century.

Following the acquisition, Richardson plans to reinvigorate the brand. Richardson is also set to acquire Wesson’s 280,000ft² production facility in Memphis, Tennessee.

Richardson president and CEO Curt Vossen said: “The rich history of both our company and the Wesson brand makes this an exciting acquisition for us.

“We believe that consumers will continue to seek out high-quality foods and aligning with the Wesson brand expands our ability to meet that consumer desire.”

“We believe that consumers will continue to seek out high-quality foods and aligning with the Wesson brand expands our ability to meet that consumer desire.”

Completion of the deal is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approval. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Vossen further added: “We are excited about expanding into this geography and look forward to investing in the future of this plant, the employees and the community.

“Our recent $30m investment to build an innovation centre focused on product development will provide a modern platform for testing solutions and exploring new ideas, creating the perfect match to develop truly innovative products to meet and exceed consumer expectations.”

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada, Richardson International is a subsidiary of family-owned James Richardson & Sons.

Richardson also handles and merchandises grains and oilseeds. It is a manufacturer of oats and canola-based products.

For more than two decades, Richardson has been producing a wide variety of food products and ingredients for the retail, food service and industrial markets.

This transaction comes nine months after the US Federal Trade Commission stopped the proposed $285m acquisition of Wesson by J M Smucker, reported Financial Post.

The proposed deal was blocked over concerns that the merger would stifle competition, given that Smucker had plans to shift production to its Ohio facility.

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