Maple Leaf Foods announced that despite active negotiations with several prospective purchasers, current economic conditions and credit markets have made it difficult to complete a satisfactory sale of its Ontario pork processing business based in Burlington, Ontario. As a result, the company does not plan to continue a formal sale process until markets rebound, which will likely not be before early 2010.
"The current economic conditions and credit markets have created a less-than-ideal environment to sell any business," said Michael Vels, chief financial officer of Maple Leaf Foods. "There is no immediate urgency to selling the Burlington business. It is an efficient and profitable business, and we want to ensure we negotiate an offer that recognizes the appropriate value for the business and meets the expectations of our shareholders."
The decision to sell the Burlington business resulted from the company’s decision to refocus its growth in the meat, meals, and bakery businesses in October 2006, involving the divestiture or exit of several of its primary processing and other operations. The Burlington sale remains an important part of Maple Leaf’s protein business transformation.
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Maple Leaf employs approximately 24,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe, and Asia.