Richardson International has deal to buy Wesson oil from Conagra Brands

WINNIPEG — Richardson International Ltd. says it has an agreement with Conagra Brands Inc. to purchase cooking oil brand Wesson and a U.S. production facility for an undisclosed price.

The privately held Winnipeg-based company says the acquisition reinforces the growth strategy for its food business and complements its position as a vertically integrated canola processor.

Canada’s largest agribusiness says it will “reinvigorate” the brand and plans to invest in the Memphis, Tenn., facility.

The Canadian company recently invested $30 million to build an innovation centre focused on product development.

The agreement is subject to the usual closing conditions, including regulatory approval and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter.

The deal comes nine months after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission moved to block the proposed US$285-million acquisition of Wesson oil by J.M. Smucker Co. over concerns the combination would lessen competition. Smucker had planned to move production to its facility in Ohio.

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