Photographer: Jennifer Pallian

Sugar Producer Diversifies Into Maple Syrup With Quebec Deal

  • Rogers Sugar to buy L.B. Maple Treat for $124 million in cash
  • L.B. is among the largest private, branded bottlers of syrup

Rogers Sugar Inc., a 127-year-old Canadian sugar producer, is getting into the other sweetener that the country is famous for -- maple syrup.

The company agreed to acquire Granby, Quebec-based L.B. Maple Treat for $160.3 million ($124.3 million) in cash, Rogers said in a statement Monday.

Closely held L.B. is one of the world’s largest bottlers of branded and private-label syrup and also one of the biggest distributors of the sweetener. Global demand for the syrup, which is both organic and gluten-free, is growing as shoppers increasingly hunt for food and drinks flavored with natural ingredients. Consumers are increasingly favoring syrup and other sweeteners over sugar, which in recent years has come under attack from some physicians for its impact on human health.

“This sizable and strategic transaction is a game changer for Rogers Sugar,” Montreal-based Rogers’s Chief Executive Officer John Holliday said in the statement.

Rogers said the purchase is expected to add 10 percent to its free cash flow per share for year ended Sept. 30, 2018.

Quebec is the world’s largest producer in the C$750 million-a-year syrup market. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers said in May that this season’s harvest rose 2.7 percent to a record 152.2 million pounds as farmers increased the number of syrup-extracting taps on maple trees.

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