Sun Capital sells beef supplier Creekstone

Kansas-based Creekstone Farms has been sold by the US private equity firm after 12 years of ownership to Japanese grain trader Marubeni Corporation.

Sun Capital Partners has sold Kansas-based beef and pork supplier Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate active in grain and feed ingredients trading.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Creekstone produces and sells grain-fed Black Angus beef and antibiotic-free Duroc pork throughout the United States and to Europe, Latin America and Asia. The company owns a processing plant in Kansas capable of processing 1,400 cattle per day that was included in the transaction.

Under the ownership of Sun Capital, which acquired Creekstone in 2005, the company grew its exports and expanded its all-natural offerings from less than 5 percent of total production to its current level of about 22 percent, according to a statement.

“By bringing in a best-in-industry leadership team and expanding our product offerings in line with trends in consumer demand, we were able to improve Creekstone Farms’ business fundamentals and turn a good company into a great one,” Sun Capital principal Jordan Wadsworth said in the statement.

For Marubeni, the deal marks its entry into US beef and reflects a change in strategy for its food and consumer products group towards a more international focus, a shift it discussed in its 2016 annual report. Marubeni’s grain and food product investments, which include trader Gavilon Agriculture Investment and Japanese meat marketer Wellfam Foods, produced ¥26.9 billion ($240 million; €207 million) in net profit last year, according to the report.

“With the acquisition of CSF [Creek Stone Farms], in addition to its existing subsidiary Rangers Valley, which engages in cattle feeding and beef distribution in Australia, Marubeni will secure its production base in the two largest beef-producing countries and establishes its organization to meet the globally-growing need for high-quality beef,” Marubeni said in its statement.

Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, lower mid-market private equity firm Sun Capital has $9.1 billion in assets under management, according to PEI data. Other food-related investments in its portfolio include fresh produce provider Flavor 1st and foodservice supplier Fresh-Pak.