Arkansas Teacher Retirement System Invests $25M in Westrock

Arkansas Teacher Retirement System Invests $25M in Westrock
The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System Building at 1400 W. Third St. in Little Rock. (Google Maps)

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System has approved a $25 million equity investment in Westrock Coffee Co. (NASDAQ: WEST) of Little Rock, the company announced.

The pension plan will purchase 2.5 million shares of Westrock common stock at a price of $10 per share, more than $1 below the level where the stock has been trading this year.

Westrock said the investment will support its expansion in Conway, where a $300 million production facility and a $70 million distribution center are being developed.

"This investment contributes to the retirement security of Arkansas educators, but it also supports jobs and economic expansion for Arkansas. That benefits everyone in our state — Arkansas educators, taxpayers, and families," Mark White, executive director of the retirement plan, said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close in August, along with equity purchases totaling $75 million from two other investment groups.

HF Capital LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee, a group that includes Cleveland Browns owner and Pilot Flying J chairman Jimmy Haslam, agreed to purchase $50 million in Westrock stock at $10 per share. The purchase adds to the firm's initial investment in Westrock, which helped the coffee, tea and extracts provider go public last year.

"Our agreement to make this additional investment further validates our belief in Westrock Coffee’s strategy to capitalize on the strong demand for extracts and [ready-to-drink] as a growing consumer category, and on the ability of the Westrock Coffee team to deliver on that strategy," Andrew Seamons, chief investment officer at HF Capital, said in a statement.

The family of oil billionaire Herbert Hunt, which owns the Kansas City Chiefs, invested $25 million at the same price per share.

Together, the Haslam and Hunt families are purchasing 7.5 million shares of Westrock.

Westrock reported a first-quarter net loss of $4.3 million, an improvement over its net loss of $4.7 million in the same period in 2022. Net sales increased 10% to $205.4 million for the period ending March 31.

More On This Story