Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Feds clear Canada Bread sale to Mexican company

The federal government has approved the sale of Canada Bread Company Limited to Grupo Bimbo of Mexico.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. owns 90 per cent of Canada Bread’s shares.

"We are very pleased that his transaction has satisfied all regulatory reviews," said Michael H. McCain, Maple Leaf’s president and chief executive officer. 

"The sale to Grupo Bimbo will provide an exciting future for our bakery business and enable Maple Leaf to focus on accelerating profitable growth in the consumer packaged meats business, supported by leading brands, market shares and significant financial strength," he said.

Canada Bread moved into new centralized facilities in an industrial basin in Hamilton several years ago, consolidating operations from several smaller and older bakeries.

It is in the process of doing the same for its meat processing business. That new plant is close to the Canada Bread plant and consolidations have already begun.

The biggest change will be closing the Schneider Corp. plant in downtown Kitchener this year and moving that processing to Hamilton.

At one time the Schneider plant on Courtland Avenue handled slaughter of hogs, cattle and chickens plus processing for its famous products, such as wieners and cold cuts.

First to go was cattle slaughter, then hog slaughter, then chicken slaughter, but the company expanded its meat processing, acquiring a number of companies, including Mitchell’s in Saskatoon and Mother Jackson’s Open Kitchens at Port Perry.

Smithfield Foods Inc. bought the business when control was held by the Schneider family which would not sell to rival Canada Packers, by that time owned by Maple Leaf Foods.

Smithfield ran the business for a few years, then sold to Maple Leaf.

Bimbo Bakery is one of the largest companies in that sector; it has an office in Cambridge.

Canada Bread was part of Maple Leaf Mills; it merged with Canada Packers Ltd. and the two became Maple Leaf Foods Inc., then the McCain family, with backing from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, bought the business.