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SunOpta Inc. , a producer of organic and specialty foods, has agreed to buy U.S.-based sunflower seed product maker Dahlgren & Company Inc. for $44-million in cash.

SunOpta said Monday it expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings.

Products made by Dahlgren are used by the snack food, bakery, food ingredients and bird feed industries. The company, based in Crookston, Minn., has annual revenue of about $80-million and employs 150 people at manufacturing facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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The merger will create one of the largest confection sunflower businesses in the world, SunOpta said in a statement.

"The acquisition provides our combined operations with the size and scale required to be a key player in growing domestic and international markets," said Allan Routh, president of the SunOpta Grains and Foods Group.

SunOpta sources, processes and packages natural and organic food products.

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