Cavendish Farms is expanding its potato processing facilities in Canada with the purchase of Maple Leaf Foods’ plant in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The 142,000 sq ft factory employs 135 people and makes frozen French fries, hash browns and speciality potato products. The business boasts annual sales of $75m and markets its products to domestic and international customers.
Cavendish Farms said it planned to keep hold of all staff and aimed to continue producing and marketing all products previously produced by the Lethbridge facility in the short term.
Maple Leaf said it would “realise proceeds of approximately $60m from the sale, including inventory and working capital, which would be used to pay down debt.
"This business will be in good hands in a company that is focused on growth in the value added potato business," said Michael McCain, president and chief executive of Maple Leaf Foods.
Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms and co-chief executive officer of J D Irving Limited, which operates Cavendish Farms as well as other businesses in a variety of industries, said: "Cavendish Farms is focused on growth opportunities that are a good fit for our existing business.”
“This announcement will result in a more competitive Cavendish with stronger capabilities to service our customers from coast to coast in North America. It enhances our national distribution network in the foodservice and retail sectors in Canada and builds on our strong position in the US.”
Cavendish Farms is a producer of frozen potato and appetizer products. It supplies retail, restaurant and institutional customers.
Maple Leaf Foods is a leading global Canadian meat, meals and bakery company. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, it employs 19,500 people in operations across Canada and in the US, Europe and Asia.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of December 2012.