SunOpta Announces System Sale to Celunol

August 3, 2006

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 3, 2006–SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today announced that the company has sold a continuous process system, including SunOpta’s patented and proprietary biomass conversion technology, to Celunol (formerly BC International) for Celunol’s cellulosic ethanol commercial demonstration facility in Jennings, Louisiana. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The SunOpta Bioprocess Group has been designing, building, and optimizing biomass conversion plants for over thirty years. End products include cellulosic ethanol, cellulosic butanol, xylitol, and dietary fibre for human consumption. Raw materials include wheat straw, corn stover, grasses, oat hulls, wood chips, and sugarcane bagasse. 

Celunol Corp. (www.celunol.com) is a privately held company headquartered in Dedham, Massachusetts moving rapidly to commercialize its proprietary technology for producing ethanol from a wide array of cellulosic biomass feedstocks–including bagasse, agricultural waste, wood products and dedicated energy crops. The company is currently completing an expansion of its existing pilot facility and is moving forward to construct a demonstration plant based on its technology later this year. Celunol aspires to develop and build a portfolio of ethanol facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Shareholders in the company include Braemar Energy Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Rho Capital Partners.

Murray Burke, Vice President and General Manager of SunOpta’s BioProcess Group, commented, “The combination of SunOpta and Celunol process technologies will lead to a very competitive solution for producing cellulosic ethanol from various biomass substrates. We are excited to be working with Celunol on the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States and look forward to the massive grow out in this market.”

Carlos Riva, President and Chief Executive Officer of Celunol, noted the advantages of acquiring the SunOpta technology, “Incorporating SunOpta’s biomass pretreatment system into our proprietary process will further enhance the operating efficiencies of our Jennings facility, and will advance the rapid commercialization of Celunol’s cellulosic ethanol technology.”

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.

Source: Business Wire

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