Olam buys US peanut sheller McCleskey Mills for US$176 million

SINGAPORE - Olam International Limited has inked a deal to buy 100 per cent of leading US peanut sheller, McCleskey Mills for US$176 million.

McCleskey is currently the third largest peanut sheller in the US with a market share of about 12 per cent and an annual capacity of approximately 250,000 farmer stock tons.

The acquisition is part of Olam's strategy to selectively invest in areas such as edible nuts.

McCleskey owns processing facilities at two locations in Georgia, which is the heart of the US' peanut growing region in the Southeast. It also has built long-standing relationships with a diverse set of customers in the snack, peanut butter and confectionery space.

Olam has been operating in the US peanut industry since 2007 after it acquired Universal Blanchers which specialises in toll blanching and ingredient manufacturing of peanuts. Universal Blanchers has four manufacturing facilities strategically located across the US peanut belt in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina.

Olam has experience in peanut shelling operations in Argentina, India and South Africa but the McCleskey acquisition will be an advantage as US is the leading cost-competitive producer and exporter of peanut products in the world.