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Olymel buying Quebec sausage maker

Olymel to consolidate sausage processing at Trois-Rivieres


Quebec’s Olymel plans to consolidate its sausage business into a next-to-new processing plant, after making a deal to buy the plant’s owner.

Olymel, the meat packing arm of La Coop federee, announced Tuesday it will buy Trois-Rivieres processor La Fernandiere for an undisclosed sum.

La Fernandiere will “remain an autonomous entity” within Olymel, the company said, and will continue making and marketing La Fernandiere sausages, with its own sales force, representatives and brand management.

Olymel plans to centralize all its own production of fresh and breakfast sausages, sold under the Olymel and Lafleur brands and private labels, at La Fernandiere’s Trois-Rivieres plant.

The companies will invest over $1.5 million in new equipment to put up a third sausage line at the plant, which in turn is expected to create over 30 jobs and triple the plant’s annual production.

Fresh and breakfast sausages made until now at Olymel’s Quebec City-area plant at St-Henri-de-Levis “should be replaced by equivalent volumes in the ham production sector,” Olymel said.

Boosting ham production at the St-Henri plant “meets a need for growth in this product category,” the company added.

La Fernandiere, whose products are sold via most major Quebec retail chains and elsewhere in Canada, today employs over 80 people processing over five million kilograms of goods per year, including regular and European-style pork and beef sausages, cocktail sausages and meatloaves.

The company, which began operating at Trois-Rivieres in 1948, undertook three expansions at its original site before building the new 31,000-square foot plant it opened in 2013.

“The complementarity between La Fernandiere’s desire to grow and Olymel’s need to increase its production capacity, and the synergies that will be generated by the pooling of our operations, were the main factors in bringing our two companies together,” Olymel CEO Rejean Nadeau said in the company’s release.

Yanick Gervais, La Fernardiere’s co-president and general manager, will remain its vice-president and general manager, while its other co-president, Marc Lafontaine, will serve in a consultant role.

Gervais, the grandson of company co-founder Fernand Colbert, said he expects the deal “will enable the company to pursue its development and make it possible for the La Fernandiere brand to conquer new markets.”

Gervais also pledged that La Fernandiere’s suppliers “will continue to deliver quality raw materials” to the Trois-Rivieres operation. — Network

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