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Maple Leaf Sells Ontario Pork Business

Florida firm buys Maple Leaf's Burlington, Ont. pork processing plant for $20 million.


Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has announced that it is selling its Burlington, Ont. pork processing facility to Florida-based private investment firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. for $20 million.

The facility currently processes about 1.6 million hogs annually, and employs 1,000 people. The sale will reduce Maple Leaf’s pork processing to roughly 4.3 million hogs annually.

Maple Leaf originally put the Burlington facility – one of the largest pork processing operations in Canada – up for sale in 2008. The company announced this May that the plant was again on the block.

The move is part of Maple Leaf’s ongoing restructuring of its protein business. In 2007 the company announced it was consolidating its pork processing operations in its Brandon, Man. plant, with the goal of focusing on branded meat, bakery and meal products. Further restructuring plans designed to reduce costs and improve profit include closing some plants and consolidating other operations.

“This sale will complete the transformation of our fresh pork operations to focus our growth on branded, consumer-focused prepared meats and meals business,” says Michael Vels, CFO for Maple Leaf. “We are very pleased to have secured a buyer who will continue to operate the facility, providing ongoing employment to a highly skilled workforce, and an important market for Ontario’s hog producers.”

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sun Capital Partners has investments in 240 companies worldwide with combined annual sales of more than US$40 billion.