Maple Leaf to buy Quebec pepperoni processor

Protein firm to pay $215 million for Viau Foods


Meat processor Maple Leaf Foods plans to boost its space in the pepperoni and dry-cured meats market with a deal for Montreal-based Viau Foods.

Toronto-based Maple Leaf announced Tuesday it will pay $215 million, including $30 million in Maple Leaf shares, for Viau, which today bills itself as “Canada’s most important independent producer of pepperoni.”

“This acquisition expands Maple Leaf’s position in the growing market for premium dry cured and pepperoni meat products and provides further production capacity in Quebec, an important strategic base to grow both Canadian and U.S. sales,” Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain said in a release.

“It also enables Viau to expand its portfolio to include raised-without-antibiotic products, leveraging Maple Leaf’s leadership in this growing market.”

Viau, founded by Franco Reda in 1977, today employs 470 people at two plants in Laval and Montreal, making Viau brand pepperoni, Sila brand pepperoni, meatballs and pizza toppings and Fantino + Mondello brand Italian meats including pepperoni, ham, salami, sausage, pancetta, chorizo and capicollo. Viau bought the Fantino + Mondello business in 1999.

The company has said it was the first to develop, produce and market a dry-cured pepperoni in Canada and today is considered a top supplier of pepperoni and other pizza toppings in North American foodservice, also selling its products through retailers across Canada.

According to Maple Leaf, Viau has booked sales of $180 million over the last 12 months. It expects the Viau business to show up in its earnings per share within the first year after closing.

“The resources that Maple Leaf brings will allow us to more quickly grow our business, provide additional product offerings to our customers, make further inroads into the U.S. market, and provide more opportunities to our people,” Viau president Pat De Marco said in Maple Leaf’s release.

Once the deal closes — expected in December, pending regulatory review — the Viau business will continue to operate under its current management team, Maple Leaf said. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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