I am writing to share news about the next chapter for Silva International. Today, we have announced an agreement to be acquired by Universal Corporation.
Universal is the leading global leaf tobacco supplier with a more than 100-year agricultural-based history. Recently, Universal has been working to identify growth opportunities in adjacent markets, specifically looking at agribusinesses. In January, Universal acquired FruitSmart – a name that may be familiar to you as a specialty fruit and vegetable ingredient processor. In fact, following the close of the transaction, Silva will join Universal’s plant-based ingredients platform, which includes FruitSmart and Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients.
It is clear that Universal was attracted to Silva for our significant capacity to source, process and manufacture high-quality ingredients. They also recognize the exceptional talent across our employee base and the deeply customized service that we consistently deliver to our customers. From our perspective, we believe that Universal is the ideal acquirer of Silva as they are committed to upholding the culture and mission that we have built over the last 40-plus years, while providing us with opportunities for collaboration and growth.
Importantly, Universal does not manufacture any consumer products, including consumer tobacco products. Rather, they serve as the intermediary between farmers and manufacturers of consumer products, sourcing the crop for their customers and processing it to meet their specifications. They take very seriously the role they play in the communities in which they operate, and have invested significant resources to improve the quality of life of the farmers that work for them.
In terms of next steps, the transaction is expected to close in October. At that time, I will continue to lead Silva as President and we will remain headquartered in Momence, Illinois. Please know that there will be no change in how we interact with our customers, and all contracts will continue to be honored per existing terms. In many ways, Silva will operate much like it does today, but with the added benefit of the resources and scale that Universal offers as a company with a global presence.
We look forward to maintaining and building upon our strong relationships with you, and are committed to keeping you informed as we move forward with our post-closing plans. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
President, Silva International