Eye on Operations: Maple Leaf, Davisco in the news
Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Toronto, said will sell a Burlington, Ont., pork processing facility to an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc. Maple Leaf said it expects to receive approximately $20 million in proceeds from the sale, which is expected to close in a few days.
"This sale will complete the transformation of our fresh pork operations to focus our growth on branded, consumer-focused prepared meats and meals business," said Michael Vels, Maple Leaf's chief financial officer. "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."
Officials said the transaction includes a long-term contract with Maple Leaf Foods' rendering operations. Moreover, Maple Leaf's prepared meat operations in eastern Canada will continue to be a customer for Burlington.
Upon completion, Maple Leaf Foods said it will have reduced its annual pork processing from over 7 million hogs in 2006 to approximately 4.3 million hogs, concentrated at its facility in Brandon, Manitoba. This highly efficient scale plant provides a high quality raw material supply for the Company's prepared meats business.
Jerome Cheese Company, a division of Davisco Foods International, Inc., said plans by next summer to expand capacity in Jerome, Idaho, to produce Pasta Filata Mozzarella. Officials note the 320,000-square-foot site already produces 520,000 pounds of American type cheese each day.
"Our focus is to provide solutions for our West Coast customers by supplying mozzarella from the Idaho location," said Troy Ammann, Davisco's director of cheese operations. "We've positioned ourselves to add the mozzarella production in Jerome after realizing the overwhelming demand from these customers.
"Not only will we better serve our customers in the western United States but the Idaho location will provide better access to our international customers that we ship to from western ports. We have the milk from our dairymen, the technical support internally and we expect to create up to 20 new jobs as a result of the expansion."
Jon Davis is Davisco's chief operations officer.
"Our customers have been very insistent that they would like the option of another high quality West Coast supplier of Mozzarella," he said. "This expansion satisfies those requests, while allowing us to continue our philosophy of investing in the flexibility to react to the demand of the marketplace. This flexibility will allow us to maximize the utilization of our Idaho Milk Producers high quality milk while ensuring we capture the most value from that milk."
Davisco Foods International, Inc. is a family-owned, international cheese and food ingredient company headquartered in Le Sueur, Minn.. Operating five dairy processing plants (cheese, whey and other dairy-based food ingredients) in South Dakota, Minnesota and Idaho, Davisco produces more than 370 million pounds of cheese annually and is one of the largest suppliers of cheese to Kraft Foods.