Poultry co-ops Exceldor, Granny’s to merge

Quebec poultry co-operative Exceldor is expanding its westward reach through a merger deal with Manitoba-based Granny’s Poultry Co-operative.

The two co-ops announced the combination Wednesday, noting it’s already been approved by Granny’s producer members in a “unanimous” vote taken in May, and by the federal Competition Bureau in a decision last month.

“The main objective is to create a large co-operative that will be a leader in the poultry sector in Canada with operations in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, while keeping its ownership in the hands of producers committed to serving their customers well from coast to coast,” Exceldor said in a release.

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The majority of the two co-operatives’ customers handle procurement nationally, and a merger allows Exceldor and Granny’s to more effectively serve markets in the West and East respectively, Granny’s CEO Craig Evans said Wednesday.

The plan for the merged business, he said, is about “How do we stay a co-operative, and how do we create a national poultry co-operative… serving national customers?”

Exceldor, based at Levis, Que., has plants at Saint-Anselme, Saint-Damase, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville and Saint-Agapit, Que. plus the former Parrish and Heimbecker turkey processing plant at Hanover, Ont., as well as a new $35 million Montreal-area distribution centre at Beloeil now under construction.

It also co-owns three Quebec meat companies — Unidindon, Volailles Giannone and, since April, Les Viandes Lacroix — and has a stake in processor Golden Valley Farms at Arthur, Ont.

Granny’s, meanwhile, has its corporate office and hatchery facilities in Winnipeg and a major processing plant just north of Steinbach at Blumenort, Man., where the company undertook a $37 million expansion in 2016.

The two co-ops will operate under the Exceldor name, with combined membership of about 400 producers in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — and are expected to reach the $1 billion mark in annual sales and a staff count of over 3,450 employees across Canada.

For Granny’s farmer members, Evans said, the unanimous vote shows their enthusiasm for the deal, which he described as an opportunity for the co-op to “stabilize earnings” and better reach and serve its customers.

Asked about possible synergies in the deal, Evans said one of the biggest will be in terms of freight cost savings. Neither co-op’s production facilities are expected to close, he added, although the plants might not continue to produce all the same product lines they’ve handled up until now.

Exceldor, in its release, said it “feels strongly that recent partnerships will allow it to improve its position within an industry that is experiencing marked changes and thus, to become an even stronger and more agile organization in a highly competitive market.”

With this merger and its stakes in other meat companies, Exceldor “is becoming a key player across Canada, enabling us to better serve our customers nationally and to generate value for our members, employees and partners,” CEO Rene Proulx said in the same release.

The merger, Granny’s said in the same announcement, is “securing the future of the co-op and ensuring continued stability and growth for Manitoba poultry producers.” –– Glacier FarmMedia Network

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