Maumee-based agribusiness The Andersons Inc., continuing a company trend this year of loosening the purse strings to buy assets that make strategic sense, has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the assets of Mount Pulaski Products LLC, an Illinois company that makes products derived from corn cobs.
The purchase, the terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to closed by the end of the year.
Mount Pulaski Products of Mount Pulaski, Ill., has two mills in central Illinois that produce a variety of cob products, including absorbents and corncob-grit abrasives used for finishing and polishing.
“This acquisition aligns with our growth strategies for our cob products business,” said Mike Anderson, The Andersons' chief executive officer. “We will be doubling our raw cob supply, which enables us to enhance the service to our existing customers and expand our presence in the higher value segments of this business.”
Should the deal conclude as planned, the two mills will be under control of The Andersons’ turf & specialty group’s cob division.
Tom Waggoner, president of the turf & specialty group, said the two mills are in the center of Illinois’ seed corn production area and provide good freight and logistical benefits. “The combination of these mills with our existing mill in Delphi, Ind., enables us to optimize capacity as well as enhance services to our customers. We will be the sole cob processor and product manufacturer in the industry with multiple mills,” he said.
Debra Crow, a spokesman for The Andersons, said ground corn cob is used for a variety of products, especially absorbents, which soak up oil, grease, and other liquids. But two growing uses for ground up cob are animal bedding and cat litter. “We produce a lot of private-label cat litter,” she said. “The industry is compressing. We saw an opportunity to add a couple of more mills and so we decided to do it.”
The Andersons also is seeing a growing market in using ground cobs for abrasives used to hone and polish metal items — from golf clubs to machine parts — and to polish wood used in the log home market.
The acquisition is the third this year for The Andersons. In January it bought New Eezy Gro Inc., an Ohio firm that makes plant nutrients, and in May it bought an ethanol plant in Denison, Iowa.