Plaza Belmont sells Casa de Oro Foods

by World Grain Staff
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SHAWNEE MISSION, KANSAS, U.S. — Plaza Belmont Fund II LLC, majority owner and a leading middle market private equity firm, announced on Aug. 25 that it has sold the tortilla-production assets of Casa de Oro Foods LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., to Gruma Corporation, subsidiary of Mexican GRUMA, S.A.B. de C.V. for $20 million. GRUMA also acquired the inventories, brand and customer list related to Casa’s tortilla business.

Founded in 1992 by ConAgra Foods, Casa was purchased by Plaza Belmont and other investors in 2004. At the time of the purchase from ConAgra, Casa had plants in both Omaha and Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. The Louisville operation was sold to a group led by the company’s management in 2008 and is now known as Mesa Foods LLC.

Other financial partners in Casa were MidStates Capital, L.P. and Kansas Venture Capital, Inc., of Overland Park, Kansas, U.S., Midwest Venture Capital, LLC and Lewis & Clark Holdings, Inc. of Kansas City and Bank Midwest of Kansas
City.

Casa manufactures wheat flour tortillas for leading food service companies, processed food companies and retailers in the United States and Canada, under Casa-owned and licensed brand names as well as under private label brands. This acquisition will expand and strengthen GRUMA’s tortilla business in the United States and is part of a strategy to take advantage of opportunities and synergies in the United States, the most important market for GRUMA today.

“We are extremely proud of the progress Casa has made since 2004 under Plaza Belmont’s ownership,” said Tim Cranor, who served as Casa’s president since 2008 and is a partner of Plaza Belmont Management Group II LLC, the manager of Plaza Belmont Fund II LLC. “We wanted to ensure that the new owners would have the necessary perational expertise, as well as the financial resources, to provide growth opportunities for the company and its employees.”

John T. Stout, Jr., chairman and CEO of Plaza Belmont said, “With this sale of Casa de Oro and the sale announced earlier this month of Mama Rosa’s to Huntsman Gay Global Capital, Plaza Belmont Fund II LLC will be a very successful investment for our limited partners.”

Plaza Belmont Management Group was founded in 1998 by John T. Stout, Jr. and Robert J. Parnow to manage the private equity funds, Plaza Belmont LLC and Plaza Belmont Fund II LLC, which are focused on investments in food manufacturing and related industries.

GRUMA is one of the world’s leading tortilla and corn flour producers. GRUMA was founded in 1949 and is engaged primarily in the production, marketing, distribution and sales of tortillas, corn flour and wheat flour.
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