Richmond’s Universal Corp. to acquire Pennsylvania flavoring company
Tobacco supplier expects to close acquisition of Shank's Extracts by end of year
Richmond-based agriculture products supplier Universal Corp. has entered into an agreement to acquire specialty ingredient, flavoring and food company Shank’s Extracts Inc., it announced Tuesday.
Founded in 1899, Shank’s is a privately-held company specializing in vanilla extract products. The company, which has more than 200 workers, manufactures more than 2,400 extracts, distillates, natural flavors and colors for industrial and private label customers. Based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Shank’s has a 191,000-square-foot manufacturing campus.
“This agreement with Shank’s marks another important step forward in Universal’s efforts to identify and execute on opportunities that broaden and enhance our plant-based ingredients platform,” Universal Chairman, President and CEO George C. Freeman III said in a statement. “As the domestic natural food flavors market continues to accelerate, we are pleased to be able to expand our customer proposition with Shank’s portfolio of high-quality botanical extracts.”
The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2021. Universal expects to fund the purchase with cash on hand and borrowings under its committed revolving credit facility.
Following the deal’s closing, Shank’s will operate as part of Universal’s plant-based ingredients platform. The existing management team will continue to run the company and will report to J. Patrick O’Keefe, senior vice president of Universal Global Ventures Inc.
Founded in 1918, Universal Corp. supplies agricultural products to consumer product manufacturers. It operates in more than 30 countries and its primary subsidiary is Universal Tobacco Leaf Inc., which purchases and processes leaf tobaccos for sale to tobacco product manufacturers. Universal posted $2 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2021.