Scotsburn ice cream business sale to Agropur cleared

Agropur
(Dave Bedard photo)

Canada’s biggest dairy co-operative has been given the all-clear to close its deal for an Atlantic dairy co-op’s ice cream business.

Agropur Co-operative on Thursday announced it has bought the assets of Truro, N.S.-based Scotsburn Co-operative Services, which include the company’s plants in Truro and in Lachute, Que. as well as the Scotsburn brand name.

The two plants produce over 50 million litres of frozen dairy goods and book annual sales of over $150 million in Scotsburn-branded and private label products, Agropur said.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t mentioned in Agropur’s release and a company spokesperson wasn’t immediately available Thursday. The deal was first announced in late November but required approval from the federal Competition Bureau.

“This transaction will strengthen our presence in the ice cream market and enable us to better serve our retail partners on a national basis,” Agropur CEO Robert Coallier said Thursday.

Longueuil, Que.-based Agropur already makes and sells ice cream in Eastern and Atlantic Canada under its Farmers, Island Farms, Central Dairies and Northumberland brands.

Scotsburn Ice Cream Co. board chairman Robbie MacGregor on Thursday described the deal as “the best solution to ensure the future of local dairy production and processing,” adding that “Agropur is here to stay.”

The sale puts an end to the Scotsburn co-operative’s dairy processing business, which dated back to 1900, with the forming of the Scotsburn Creamery Co. by local farmers to set up a butter plant.

The Scotsburn co-op had been making retail ice cream since 1948 and frozen novelties since 1998, when it became the first Canadian company to own and operate an ice cream glacier machine.

Scotsburn expanded its ice cream business westward in 2015 when it bought Les Aliments Lebel, whose Lachute, Que. plant is the province’s largest for making ice cream and frozen desserts. Scotsburn also recently closed its plants in Newfoundland and New Brunswick.

Scotsburn had also been in the fluid milk business since 1966, but sold those operations in 2014 to another Quebec dairy sector giant, Saputo, for $61 million. — AGCanada.com Network

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