Sector News

Scotsburn set to sell assets to Agropur

December 5, 2016
Food & Drink

Frozen treat makers Scotsburn made a decision Wednesday to sell off assets to dairy giant Agropur Cooperative.

Their board of directors voted unanimously to recommend that members approve the deal, said a news release from Scotsburn. That second vote will happen in a few weeks.

“The board struck that deal, and it will be reviewed by our members. They should look into the details next week, and by Dec. 15 we will see if it goes through,” said president Jeff Burrows in an interview with the Chronicle Herald.

Robbie MacGregor, board chairman and a Pictou County dairy farmer, gave his thoughts.

“After a great deal of careful consideration and detailed analysis, we felt the best option for maintaining frozen dairy production was ensuring that Scotsburn’s assets be sold to Agropur, a major North American dairy co-operative with deep roots in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada,” said MacGregor in the release.

“This agreement safeguards many local jobs and helps ensure the future of local frozen dairy production, which is so important for our rural communities in these challenging times.”

Under the deal, Agropur would assume responsibilities for the collective bargaining agreements for Scotsburn’s 260 employees in the Maritimes and Quebec as well.

“They would have all our employees at their current terms. Long-term, I can’t predict what will happen, but right now employees would be offered jobs in similar capacities,” Burrows added.

He said the two companies have been friendly.

“Our two parties have had discussions on and off for years. Things got more serious this time, and Agropur was a popular choice for the board,” he said.

“Our members saw it as the best home for our ice cream assets, and it makes sense from a business perspective.

“Agropur saw this as a great way to expand their ice cream coast to coast.”

The financial aspects of the deal could not be revealed at this time.

Scotsburn has three plants, and Agropur is also responsible for the Farmers brand.

In September 2015, Scotsburn bought Les Ailments Lebel Inc., but downsizing has marred the company since.

Their fluid milk business was sold to Saputo in 2014 for $61 million.

The popsicle business in Saint John, N.B. was closed in September and the St. John’s, Nfld. plant is scheduled to close on Dec. 9.

“The creditors will all be paid and we’re looking at a January or February closing date,”Burrows said.

Source: The Chronicle Herald

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