April 17, 2024

Soybean plant has new owners

Benson Hill, Inc. announced Wednesday it has sold its Creston soybean processing business to White River Soy Processing for $72 million.

Omaha, Nebraska, based White River Soy Processing, LLC is a developer and operator of oilseed processing plants in the U.S.

“We are pleased to add another valuable asset to our growing company,” said Walter Cronin, Co-Founder and President of White River. “We appreciate the collaboration from Benson Hill to successfully complete this transaction and admire its focused commitment to the Creston team members, the plant’s many valued customers, and the community of Creston to ensure a smooth ownership transition.”

Approximately 55 team members at the Creston facility became employees of White River when the transaction closed on Tuesday. Plant operations will continue to meet contractual obligations. Benson Hill took ownership of the facility in early 2022.

“Today’s acquisition displays White River’s commitment to our company’s mission to supply better nutritional outcomes to our customers, as well as meet the growing need for high-quality soy protein products,” said Gordon Glade, Co-Founder of White River. “The purchase of the Creston facility allows us to expand what we started at the Seymour, Indiana, facility while also expanding our product offerings into the food grade market.”

The Creston facility processes both non-GMO and GMO soybeans to produce soybean meal, soy white flake, flour, grits and soybean oil for domestic and global markets for use as food and feed ingredients and the foundation for the production of concentrates, isolates, and textured soy protein products.

White River, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, purchased Benson Hill’s soybean processing facility in Seymour on Oct. 31, 2023, and announced in December it had been selected to develop an oilseed processing facility near North Platte, Nebraska. The company is supported by agricultural-focused investors and its team has experience in grain processing, from plant operations to risk management and finance.

The sale was part of Benson HIll’s transition “to an asset-light business model, and today’s announcement represents a significant milestone towards achieving that goal,” according to a Benson Hill statement about the sale.

“In connection with the sale of Creston, we have successfully retired our senior debt facility, and did so earlier than planned. This builds upon the actions we took in November to improve our financial position and balance sheet.”

Chief Executive Officer of Benson Hill Deanie Elsner said he is confident in WRSP’s direction. “We know WRSP leadership well and have confidence that they will operate the facility with the highest industry standards and a customer-centric approach. We sincerely appreciate the hard work of the Creston employees as they increased throughput at the facility to unprecedented levels. We thank them for their contributions to Benson Hill.”