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Japanese firm acquires stake in Canadian pork producer

A Tokyo trading company, Itochu, has acquired a third of Manitoba-based pork producer HyLife Group


Tokyo, Japan – A Japanese trading company has acquired a 33.4 per cent stake in HyLife Group Holdings Ltd., which is based in Manitoba.

Itochu Corporation made the announcement this week, saying it purchased its stake for 5 billion Japanese Yen.

Itochu says its aim is to sell Canadian pork into Asian markets.

This investment was made on “the understanding that HyLife’s expansion strategy will make markets in Japan and Asia, where Itochu can help with, a priority,” the company says.

“The sales of HyLife’s safe, secure pork will be increased with Ittochu’s marketing network in the Asian market, with a focus on China, where consumption continues to grow, as well as in the Japanese market.”

HyLife Foods is a federally certified, modern pork processing plant in La Broquerie, Man. and is the largest hog production company in Canada and among the top 15 in North America.

HyLife, together with its affiliates, has business holdings in Canada, the U.S. and China.

HyLife already supplies pork to markets around the world, and also supplies value-added specialty pork to the Japanese market.

The company also does work in genetics, live production and from feed mill to pork processing.

HyLife, which operates out of livestock-rich southeastern Manitoba, produces more than 1.4 million pigs a year and has owned and operated the former Springhill Farms pork processing plant at Neepawa, about 75 km northeast of Brandon, since 2008, says AlbertaFarmExpress.ca.

HyLife, known as Hytek until 2011, also owns feed mills, genetics labs, a barn construction business and a farm supply distribution business for its barns, says AlbertaFarmExpress.ca. The company expanded its hog production business into the U.S. and, in 2008, China, where it’s now a partner in Tianzow Food Co.

In a statement, Itochu also says it expects the HyLife deal to help expand its business with China’s Longda Foodstuff Group, a “significant partner” of Itochu’s, by way of “technical exchanges in the field of pig production.”

HyLife was first established as Springhill Farms in 1986 and was jointly owned by a group of Hutterite Brethren Colonies. By 2008, Springhill Farms employed 290 people, and processed up to 3,250 head/day, which were sold into the frozen meat market or as fresh carcasses.

In 2008, Hytek Ltd. purchased Springhill Farms as a wholly owned subsidiary under the new name of Springhill Farms LP.

Hytek evolved it into a “farm-to-fork” food company and re-branded the organization in 2011 as Hylife.


Deanna Rosolen

Deanna Rosolen

Managing Editor, Food in Canada
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