TODAY

– August 22, 2014

Ag firm Olam locates West Coast HQ in Fresno

Olam International, the Singapore-based supplier of ag products from cashews to cotton, is setting corporate roots in the Valley with the announcement that Fresno will be its West Coast headquarters.

About 80 people will work out of Olam's new office at 205 E. River Park Circle, Suite 310, overseeing operations including sales, accounting, financing and farming, said Warren Williams, Olam's general counsel in Fresno.

Olam already employs about 1,683 people at its farming and food processing operations in Fresno, Lemoore, Hanford and Firebaugh. The new 16,660 square-foot office will serve as a corporate hub for its Valley business which includes farming almonds, processing tomatoes and dehydrating vegetables.

"This brings everyone together in one spot, which is a big benefit," Williams said.

Olam is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 18 to celebrate the new office with scheduled guests including John Gibbons, president of Olam Americas based in New Jersey, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Fresno County Supervisor Susan Anderson.

Employees began moving into the new digs on April 25.

Olam is a truly global company that operates an integrated supply chain for 20 products in 64 countries. It began its expansion into the Valley in 2007 when it acquired cotton processor Anderson Clayton Crop. in Fresno after purchasing its parent company, Queensland Cotton Holdings of Australia.

Since then it has been buying up agriculture-based holdings left and right in the Valley, including the former De Franceso & Sons dehydrating plant in Firebaugh in 2008, the bankrupt SK Foods tomato processing plant in Lemoore in 2009 and another dehydration plant in Hanford through its 2010 purchase of Gilroy Foods & Flavors from ConAgra

Jose Antonio Ramirez, Firebaugh city manager, said having Olam's West Coast corporate headquarters in Fresno could open up more prospects for its Valley holdings, including an expansion of the products it processes as well as research and development.

"The value-added opportunities that are going to surface from having its headquarters in Fresno and a plant in Firebaugh are going to be endless," Ramirez said.

Olam Americas has about 25 operations in the U.S., including California locations in Williams (north of Sacramento), Gilroy and Modesto in addition to its Central Valley holdings.

In 2010, the publicly-traded Olam International reported sales revenue of about $8.53 billion, with about $292.2 million in net profit.

Attorney Carl Refuerzo, chair of the business department for Fresno law firm Baker Manock & Jensen, works with Olam on its various business dealings. He said Olam's representatives here and abroad are easy to work with, and that this is great news for Fresno and the Valley.

"This shows Olam's commitment to investment in agribusiness in the Central Valley," Refuerzo said.

--

Previous Olam International stories:

Olam purchases another Valley food processor

Hanford dehydrating plant to transfer ownership

Olam closes deal on Lemoore plant

$10M in bonds authorized for garlic facility

Lemoore’s SK Foods sold

How do you feel about the ice bucket challenge?

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