Arkansas Teacher Retirement System invests $25 million in Westrock Coffee

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,170 views 

Little Rock-based Westrock Coffee Company announced Tuesday (July 18) a $25 million equity investment from the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ARTRS). The deal provides the retirement system 2.5 million in Westrock shares (NASDAQ: WEST).

The deal follows a $75 million equity investment announced June 30 by HF Capital and the Herbert Hunt family. That investment is expected to close in August.

“As an Arkansas-based company, we are excited to partner with a new long-term investor who believes in our vision and provides such an important service to educators in our great state. The additional capital from ARTRS will support our continued strategic efforts to expand our extracts and ready-to-drink business at our Conway, Arkansas facility which remains the gateway to future EBITDA expansion and a key enabler of future growth,” Westrock CEO and co-founder Scott Ford said in Tuesday’s statement.

Westrock also announced June 30 it was investing $300 million to expand its development, production, and distribution facility in Conway, creating 600 jobs over five years that will pay average annual salaries of about $70,000. The expansion will occur at a 524,000-square-foot former Kimberly-Clark facility. Westrock announced it was purchasing the facility in December 2021 to produce coffee, tea and ready-to-drink products. That announcement said there would be 250 jobs at the plant. This announcement added to that number.

“We are proud to announce this partnership with Arkansas-based Westrock Coffee Company. This investment contributes to the retirement security of Arkansas educators, but it also supports jobs and economic expansion for Arkansas. That benefits everyone in our state – Arkansas educators, taxpayers, and families,” ARTRS Executive Director Mark White said in the statement.

Wells Fargo Securities served as a Capital Markets Advisor to Westrock Coffee. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel to Westrock Coffee.

Westrock shares closed Tuesday at $11.44, up 40 cents. During the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged between $14.71 and $9.34.