The Roundup -

Growers Cooperative Plans To Buy Sidney Sugar Processing Facility


November 21, 2018

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MOORHEAD, Minn. — A cooperative of sugar beet growers plans to purchase American Crystal Sugar Company's Sidney, Mont., sugar processing facility.

Representatives of American Crystal Sugar Company and Big Sky Sugar Cooperative of Sidney, Mont., on Friday sent out a news release confirming that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent "providing the framework by which Big Sky would become the owner of the Sidney, Mont., sugar processing facility."

American Crystal officials met with staff members in Sidney on Friday, Nov. 16, to announce the negotiations.

Big Sky Sugar Cooperative was formed May 31, 2017, and is owned by sugar beet growers who currently deliver beets to the Sidney Sugars Inc. facility at Sidney. American Crystal bought the plant from Holly Sugar in 2002 and has run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

"The parties will continue to negotiate the terms of the definitive agreements needed to implement the transaction," the two co-ops said in a news release.

"We have been working with the growers in an effort to outline the terms of an agreement that makes sense for both parties," said Tom Astrup, CEO of American Crystal. "We believe we have now outlined the terms of such an agreement and look forward to working with the local growers to complete the negotiations of the transaction details."

Kjeld Jonsson, the president of Big Sky, noted that the proposed transaction will allow the local sugar beet growers to have greater control over the future of sugar beet farming in eastern Montana and western North Dakota.

"We are excited about the possibilities that this transaction presents to both our owner/members and larger Sidney community," he said.

The letter of intent outlines the principal terms of the transaction, but the parties noted that many details remain to be resolved. It is anticipated that these negotiations will be taking place over the upcoming months.

American Crystal is owned by 2,650 shareholders in the Red River Valley, with factories at East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead, Minn., as well as Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D.


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