Benson Hill retires debt and divests Creston soy processing facility

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/designer491
© GettyImages/designer491

Related tags Benson Hill Soy

Benson Hill has successfully completed the divestiture of its Creston, Iowa, soy processing business to White River Soy Processing (WRSP) for gross proceeds totaling $72m.

The acquired facility is equipped to produce soy meal and oil, as well as food-grade soy white flake, flour, and grits.

The Creston transaction was finalized on February 13, 2024, serving as a pivotal step for Benson Hill in sharpening its focus on core growth areas, with it envisaging an expanded focus on animal feed markets.

In addition, the divestment is in line with its commitment to disciplined liquidity management and enhanced asset efficiency, said Benson Hill CEO, Deanie Elsner.

With the completion of the purchase, WRSP now owns and operates all aspects of the Creston soy processing facility, along with its established customer base. The team members from Creston will be retained by the new owners.

In a separate deal​ in October 2023, WRSP also acquired Benson Hill's Seymour, Indiana crush assets.

Improved financial position

Benson Hill also announced that it retired its senior convertible debt ahead of schedule. Originally targeted for retirement by March 1, 2024, the debt facility had already seen a 50% reduction in senior loan balances by November 2023.

Moreover, it disclosed that Susan Keefe is named its new chief financial officer, effective March 29, 2024. She succeeds Dean Freeman, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. 

Soybean field trials

In January, the company reported that its soybean field trials revealed minimal trade-off between yield and protein​, aiding its push for innovation in seed development for broadacre applications catering to aquaculture, pet food, swine, and poultry markets.

Greater engagement with poultry, pig feed and pet food markets will provide significant opportunity for value creation, said the St Louis Missouri company last year.

Field evaluations of its third generation of Ultra High Protein (UHP) Low Oligosaccharides, non-GMO soybean varieties indicate a 2% increase in protein content compared to the previous generation. Additionally, these soybeans exhibited a minimal yield gap of only 3 to 5 bushels per acre when contrasted with conventional GMO soybeans.

The company said this data underscored its impact on advancing agricultural practices, positioning it as a key player in the evolving landscape of seed innovation.

Five new soy varieties for the 2024 US growing season are now available, with higher protein levels, lower anti-nutritional factors, and solid field performance, Benson Hill confirmed at FARMCON 2024.

And its herbicide tolerant UHP soybean varieties are on track for commercial release in 2025, with acreage and further portfolio expansion expected in 2026. 

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