Burcon NutraScience Corporation, a leader in plant proteins, announces that its joint venture company, Merit Functional Foods Corp, has secured a debt financing package up to $85 million of capital from a syndicate of lenders including Export Development Canada, Farm Credit Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Merit Functional Foods says it is building a 94,000 square foot production facility in Winnipeg set to produce high quality pea and canola proteins. The state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2020 and will reportedly be the only commercial facility in the world with the capability to produce food grade canola proteins. The financing will support Merit Functional Foods’ growth plans and allow for expansion of their pea and canola protein production capacity.
“We are thrilled with Merit’s decision to expand production capacity at Merit’s state-of-the-art plant protein production facility currently under construction,” said Johann F. Tergesen, Burcon’s president and chief executive officer, adding, “We are equally thrilled that Merit has arranged such a substantial debt funding package.”
Merit’s product portfolio currently consists of three product family offerings: pea protein, non-GMO canola protein, and MeritPro™, a unique lineup of nutritionally complete protein blends. Its entire portfolio aligns with a number of consumer label preferences, including allergen-free, gluten-free, non-dairy, non-GMO, and vegan.
Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. EDC’s mandate is to support and develop Canada’s export trade by helping Canadian companies respond to international business opportunities including those in the cleantech and agriculture sectors.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is also a federal Crown corporation and Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, with a loan portfolio of more than $38 billion. FCC provides flexible, competitively priced financing, specifically designed for the agriculture and food industries.
To facilitate the financing, Burcon has provided a short-term letter of credit in the amount of $6.5 million, which will remain in place until no later than September 30, 2020, and also provided a $4 million guarantee of Merit’s debt obligations.