The UK and Europe’s second largest oat processor, European Oat Millers (EOM), has been acquired by Canada’s biggest agribusiness, Richardson International, in a move to expand the latter’s global footprint. Both companies are privately owned and financial details are not available.

EOM was founded by Bill and David Jordan on a site in Bedford in the early 1970s. Both are members of the long-established Jordans Cereals feed and flour milling and cereals manufacturing family business that was sold to Associated British Foods in 2008.

An equity investment by Conagra in the 1980s financed early expansion, with growth continuing after the Jordan family bought Conagra out a decade later. The business opened a second factory in Bedford in 2013.

EOM has grown to become the second largest oat miller in Europe behind Cheshire’s Morning Foods. It makes a wide range of oat products, including flakes, flour and groats, in addition to wheat and barley flakes, extruded ingredients and products. The company exports to continental Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia as well as supplying the UK.

Richardson is an integrated arable marketing, grain handling and processing business with its headquarters in Winnipeg. Tracing its history back 150 years, it operates across Canada’s grain belt, with two mills in the US states of Kansas and Nebraska. It became the largest oat miller in North America through the acquisition of three oat processing plants in Canada and the Nebraska mill. These were among a package of former Viterra assets, divested as part of Glencore’s takeover of Canada’s Viterra in 2013.

“We are excited to build on our success in value-added processing and extend our food manufacturing footprint to a new geography,” says Richardson president and chief executive Curt Vossen. “As the largest oat miller in North America, we now look forward to building a presence in Europe to enhance our ability to compete in the global marketplace.

“European Oat Millers is a solid, family-owned business that is well-established in the UK. We have been very impressed with both the quality of the business and its people and believe it is an excellent complement to our Richardson Milling division. Looking ahead, we will build on the investments that have already been made, including increasing manufacturing capacity, and will continue to seek opportunities to expand our global business.”

Bill Jordan adds: “My brother and I are very proud of the business that we have successfully grown over the past three decades. We are pleased to be passing it on to a similar family-owned business that shares both our vision for growth and our core values and we look forward to watching the business evolve.”