Creekstone Farms, the Arkansas City, Kan.-based packing company with $550 million in sales last year, has been sold to Japanese trading house Marubeni. Creekstone, the 12th largest U.S. packing firm, was owned by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners. A Japanese news source reported the deal to be worth $170 million.
Marubeni already owns an Australian feedlot, which means the company now has interests in two of the world’s largest beef producing and exporting countries. International business analysts believe Marubeni sees changes in trade policy among major economies as business opportunities, and is making a play to be on the leading edge of U.S. beef exports to China with its purchase of Creekstone.
Creekstone processed about 250,000 cattle last year, about 20% of which was exported to Europe, Japan and other countries. It received a license to export to China soon after the ban was lifted last month. Marubeni says it has targeted sales of $620 million from Creekstone by 2020 through increasing exports to China and other destinations.