Lifecore Biomedical, a life-sciences business with a six-decade history in Minnesota and an employee base of hundreds, is becoming the ongoing face of its parent company and name on its stock listing.
Its California-based owner, publicly traded Landec Corp., announced after market closing Wednesday that it will assume the Lifecore Biomedical name and move its headquarters to Chaska.
Landec's other sizable business, a natural foods operation called Curation Foods, is being divested. Until a sale is complete, the food business under the ongoing Lifecore will be reported as a discontinued operation.
Jim Hall, who has been president of the Lifecore segment, will become CEO of the new company.
Lifecore was a publicly traded Minnesota company until it was bought by a private-equity group in 2008. That group sold Lifecore to Landec in 2010.
John Morberg,Lifecore's CFO, said that it will take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to complete the transition that will make Lifecore a Minnesota-based, publicly traded company again.
Lifecore has about 400 employees at three facilities in Chaska, where it has operated since 1991. It began as a company called Diagnostic Inc. in 1965. It went public in 1968 and was renamed Lifecore in the mid-1980s.
Hall is a Lifecore veteran who joined the company in 1989 as a process development engineer. He worked for another company for a few years in the 1990s, then returned to Lifecore in 1999.
Lifecore makes sodium hyaluronate, which has a variety of medical applications including skin care, joint pain and eye health.
Hall estimated that the company makes 80% of the hyaluronic acid used in ophthalmic viscosurgical devices in North America. They are used to protect the cornea in cataract surgery.
Lifecore is also a contract development and manufacturing organization that works with companies developing pharmaceuticals or devices.
In its latest results, also announced Wednesday, Landec said the Lifecore division experienced revenue of $109.3 million in its fiscal year ended May 29. That was up 11.5% and faster than the company's overall growth rate of 8.3%.
"We had a really good year last year," said Hall. "Since Landec has owned us we've had high revenue growth and high EBITDA growth and we don't see that stopping."
Landec forecast Lifecore's revenue would be in the range of $122 million to $126 million, up 12 to 15%, for fiscal year 2023.
Beyond the rebranding, Lifecore will have a new ticker symbol — LFCR — and will make changes to its board of directors.
New York-based Warburg Pincus Private Equity acquired Lifecore in 2008 and took it private. At the time Lifecore's business included dental implants, which was spun off to another Warburg Pincus-owned company.
Santa Maria, Calif.-based Landec acquired Lifecore from the private equity group in 2010 for $40 million, the assumption of $4 million in debt and potential earn-out payments. At the time, Lifecore's annual revenue was around $27 million.
"We have supported the Lifecore business since we took ownership of the company, investing in new capacity and capabilities," Craig Barbarosh, Landec's chair, said in a statement. "We are extremely excited about the path ahead for this exceptional business."