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Coop federee taking minority stake in hardware chain

Agrifood processor and ag retailer La Coop federee has reached a deal to take a minority interest in home reno and hardware retail chain Groupe BMR.

The size of the stake and the financial terms of the deal haven’t been released.

The deal will see Coop federee — through its Unimat chain — and BMR together offer about 360 retail locations to consumers and contractors in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, the companies said.

“The critical mass and the synergies that will result from this association are sure to contribute to the development of businesses both in Quebec and in Canada,” the two companies said.

“Furthermore, the purchasing power and economies of scale will benefit all consumers.”

Citing “current economic uncertainty” and the “arrival of foreign competitors, in particular from the U.S.,” the two companies described their announcement as “highly positive.”

Coop federee, the biggest agrifood company in Quebec, operates fuel company Sonic and meat packer Olymel and has a share in Eastern Canada’s hardware and farm machinery markets through Unimat.

Through its distribution centre in Trois-Rivieres, it serves a network of over 175 Unimat and La Coop stores in Quebec, New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario, handling farm tools, farm and forestry machinery and maple syrup harvesting accessories, as well as retail hardware, construction and renovation materials and equipment and yard and gardening products.

Unimat, which booked total 2012 sales of $248.8 million, distributes to 175 outlets selling farm and forestry equipment and also sells ag equipment parts through about 200 outlets.

Boucherville-based Groupe BMR, meanwhile, connects home reno and hardware dealers in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, plus a store each in Charlottetown and on the French island of St-Pierre.

BMR (which stands for “building materials and renovation”) began in 1967 as Union-six, a small purchasing group of Quebec lumber and building supply dealers, expanding into a network of “renovation centres” in 1996 and hardware distribution in 1997.

Now the second-biggest banner in Quebec’s renovation sector, BMR reports total member sales of over $1.3 billion per year.

BMR in 2010 added a new product line, Agrizone, to cater to the farming market through 55 of its member stores, with offerings of over 2,000 products from farm hardware, work wear and footwear to dairy brushes and forestry equipment. — Network

Related stories:
Coop federee, BMR hardware chain courting, Jan. 16, 2013
Eastern retailers rework marketing for ag wares, Feb. 8, 2010

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