SimÃ©us Foods International Inc. recently received a $5 million cash investment from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., making the minority-owned food manufacturer the first beneficiary of a private small business equity fund established by the national retailer. Wal-Mart was named one of BE’s Best Companies for Diversity in July.
Dumas SimÃ©us, the chairman of the board, says the injection of cash will allow Mansfield, Texas-based SimÃ©us Foods (No. 33 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $127 million in sales) to expand some of its existing products. Specifically, it will increase its pre-cooked beef and pork entrÃ©es and its kettle products, including soups and sauces.
SimÃ©us expects Wal-Mart to account for a substantial portion of the company’s future business and says this new relationship will present lucrative opportunities. “The private equity investment is a manifestation of Wal-Mart’s confidence in SimÃ©us Foods’ ability to grow the company and become a large supplier to Wal-Mart in the future,” says SimÃ©us.
Wal-Mart established the private equity fund in October to invest in women- and minority-owned businesses. The retail giant is not taking any ownership in the funded companies. “Through this equity fund we are able to actively invest and support businesses and help promote supplier diversity and foster the entrepreneurial spirit,” says Linda Blakley, media representative at Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Aldus Equity in Dallas will manage the equity fund, which has more than $25 million earmarked for equity investment payments to various businesses over the next five years.