Olymel announced the acquisition of the Canadian assets of Big Sky Farms on Jan. 21. They won the acquisition, after bidding $65.25 million for the company.
“Our intention is to go on with the business,” said Richard Vigneault, spokesperson for Olymel LP. Vigneault added that Olymel has partnered with the former partners of Big Sky Farms to keep continuity of the business, and that employees would still retain their jobs.
“So far, we are happy with the deal. Big Sky Farms is a good producer who has faced tough times before,” said Vigneault.
Big Sky Farms, based in Humboldt, was placed in receivership last September.
Olymel and Ernst and Young Inc., the court-appointed receiver of Big Sky Farms, entered into a purchase and sale agreement on Oct. 16. A transaction, concluded on Jan. 20, made Olymel subsidiary OlySky the owner of the Canadian assets of Big Sky Farms.
Founded in 1995, Big Sky Farms employs more than 400 people. With a herd of 42,000 sows, it has annual production of one million hogs.
Olymel does not currently raise hogs, but it operates a hog-slaughter plant in Red Deer, Alta. For many years, Big Sky Farms was a leading supplier to the Olymel plant, that employs more than 1,300 persons and has a weekly slaughtering capacity of 90,000 hogs.
Olymel is working closely with Big Sky Farms, to ensure expertise of the former owners of the company. Commenting on that continuity, Vigneault noted the hiring of Casey Smit as the new vice-president of production for Olymel, who was the former Big Sky Farms CEO.
According to the third receivership report by Ernst and Young, “OlySky intends to preserve and bolster the operations of Big Sky and expand its presence in the more than 24 communities in which it operates, many of which are located in remote areas of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.”
“Many of these communities are dependent on Big Sky for employment and other economic activity,” stated the report. “The Olymel acquisition is expected to help maintain the vitality of the hog production industry and of the agri-food sector generally in Saskatchewan.”