March 16, 2015 / 4:23 PM / 4 years ago

Canada crop processor Legumex Walker hangs for-sale sign; shares up

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada’s Legumex Walker Inc, which operates a canola-crushing plant in Washington State, said on Monday that it might sell itself or make other strategic moves, sending its shares up as much as 16 percent.

Legumex, which is also a major processor of pulse crops such as lentils and peas, said in a statement that its shares were undervalued and that two directors had resigned.

The company was not immediately available for further comment.

Legumex’s financial performance has been hampered by railway congestion limiting delivery of canola seed to its Warden, Washington, crushing plant and the facility’s slow ramp-up to full production. The Winnipeg-based company posted a loss of C$13.1 million for the first nine months of 2014 and had C$82.2 million in long-term debt as of Sept. 30.

Shares of Legumex were up 14 percent at C$3.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after rising as high as C$3.16. Still, the stock is down about 32 percent from a year ago.

Besides selling the company, strategic alternatives could include financing, a merger or asset sale, Legumex said.

Legumex has fielded inquiries from parties interested in transactions in certain of the company’s markets, Chairman Bruce Scherr said in a statement.

In October, Legumex struck an agreement calling for grain handler Scoular Co to procure seed for its canola plant and market its canola meal and oil.

Canola is crushed mainly to produce vegetable oil, which is used in cooking and in margarine and salad dressings. Pulse crops are foods rich in protein.

Legumex owns 84 percent of Pacific Coast Canola, its Washington crushing plant, with Glencore PLC owning the rest. Legumex also owns 15 crop processing plants on the Canadian Prairies and in the U.S. Midwest and China.

Altacorp Capital is Legumex’s financial adviser, and Borden Ladner Gervais is the company’s legal adviser.

Legumex said it had no set schedule for evaluating alternatives.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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