Opal Foods’ operations initially will consist of 5.6 million laying hens at farms in Missouri and Colorado, as well as a new farm in Neosho. The Neosho farm will eventually be home to 800,000 cage-free hens, which will bring the company’s total hen head count to more than 6 million. Opal Foods reports that many of the purchased farms have recently been renovated to comply with California’s future production standards, and some will be among the most modern in the country.
AGR Partners, Visalia, California, is a private equity investment group with capital provided by institutional pension investors. Rose Acre and Weaver Brothers are minority shareholders of Opal Foods, which is an independent company with its own management team, sales force and board of directors. The acquisition was completed on May 9, 2014, and no financial details were released.
Opal Foods’ will be headquartered in Neosho, Missouri, and the company will retain all of the more than 250 employees of Moark’s Midwestern operations. Opal Foods will be a franchisee of Eggland’s Best and will continue serving the same customers.
Jerry Welch, general manager of Opal Foods said, “Opal Foods is proud to continue to supply customers with the highest quality eggs to help meet the category’s strong and growing demand. Opal Foods’ stewardship will provide its customers and end consumers with a sustainable source of protein and valuable nutrition for years to come.”
Ejnar Knudsen, managing member of AGR Partners and a director of Opal Foods said, “We expect the sales to exceed $200 million per year, and that this investment is consistent with the shift to healthy living trends. There is a continued shift to higher protein consumption and more breakfast and lunch menus including eggs.”