SIDNEY, Mont. – It is not a “done deal” yet, but the new Big Sky Sugar Cooperative, is planning to purchase American Crystal Sugar Co.’s Sidney Sugars, Inc., the region’s sugarbeet processing facility.
Kjeld Jonsson, the president of Big Sky, and a Savage sugarbeet producer, said he has signed several letters of non-disclosure, and cannot discuss any details.
“It is a slow process. We’re still working on it,” Jonsson said on Jan. 21.
Big Sky Sugar Co-op was organized on May 31, 2017, and was formed for the purpose of acquiring and operating Sidney Sugars, Inc., on behalf of local sugarbeet growers who will be invited to become members of the co-op if the acquisition proceeds.
Big Sky and American Crystal signed a “non-binding letter of intent, providing the framework by which Big Sky would become the owner of the Sidney sugar processing facility.
The letter of intent outlines the principal terms of the transaction, but Big Sky and American Crystal noted that many details remain to be resolved.
“We have been working with the growers in an effort to outline the terms of an agreement that makes sense for both parties,” said Tom Astrup, the CEO of American Crystal. “We believe we have now outlined the terms of such an agreement and look forward to working with the local growers to complete the negotiations of the transaction details.”
Jonsson said the proposed transaction would allow the MonDak beet growers to have greater control of the future of beet farming in eastern Montana and western North Dakota.
“We are excited about the possibilities that this transaction presents to both our owner/members and the larger Sidney community,” he said.
American Crystal Sugar Company is an agricultural cooperative owned by 2,650 shareholders in the Red River Valley involved in the growing and processing of sugarbeets, and is the largest beet sugar producer in the U.S.
American Crystal operates sugar factories at East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead, Minn., Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D., and Sidney, Mont.
Its corporate headquarters and technical services center are located in Moorhead.
“The parties will continue to negotiate the terms of the definitive agreements needed to implement the transaction,” Astrup said.
American Crystal bought Sidney Sugars’ plant from Holly Sugar in 2002 and has run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary.