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B.C. special crops firm buys Sask. processing plants

A new British Columbia special crops marketing firm has bought a foothold in the special crops and pulse processing business in western Saskatchewan.

ILTA Grain, formed in Surrey by former managers of specialty crop export firm Finora, announced Friday it’s bought four handling and processing plants owned by Parkland Grain/Pulse of North Battleford, Sask., for an undisclosed sum.

The sale, expected to close Sunday, will give ILTA handling and processing infrastructure in two plants at North Battleford, one at Swift Current and one at Cut Knife, about 55 km west of North Battleford.

The Parkland plants’ current staff of 45 employees are to join ILTA, including Gilles Fransoo, the son of company founder Cyril Fransoo.

"Further expansion of the facilities will be made to support the growing sales program of both companies," ILTA said in a release.

A fifth Parkland plant, the former WA Grain and Pulse Solutions facility at Innisfail, Alta., is not part of the sale to ILTA.

Parkland bought the WA name and business and leased the facility in late 2010 from its owners, Chris Chivilo and his family. Chivilo said Friday he will continue to own and operate the Innisfail plant under a new, yet-to-be-decided name.

ILTA said it also plans to develop two new "strategically placed" specialty crop and pulse facilities at unnamed locations in Saskatchewan, with expected completion in 2012-13.

Former Finora chiefs Dan Burneski and Gerald Donkersgoed founded ILTA last year, after Finora’s Hong Kong-based owner, Noble Group, sold that company and its four plants in Saskatchewan and Alberta to Regina pulse processor Alliance Grain Traders in 2009.

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