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Agropur to buy Nova Scotia's Cook's Dairy

Co-op will buy southwestern N.S. market leader

Dairy giant Agropur plans to expand its reach further into Atlantic Canada by buying the dairy which makes what's billed as southwestern Nova Scotia's leading milk brand.

The Quebec-based co-operative announced Thursday it will buy Chebogue, N.S.-based Cook's Dairy, maker of the Cook's brand of milk, chocolate milk, ice cream, whipping cream, sour cream, eggnog and fruit juices.

Cook's, a family-owned company in business in Yarmouth County since the 1940s, buys from local farms, processes about 2.7 million litres of fluid milk and other dairy goods per year, and distributes to about 200 retailers in the region including Yarmouth, Digby and Shelburne counties.

Terms of the family's deal with Agropur weren't released, except that Cook's general manager Don Cook and sales manager Randy Cook have agreed to remain with the business.

"We have been thinking about the future of Cook's Dairy for a long time... and now is the right time to sell our dairy," Don Cook said in Agropur's release Thursday.

Agropur CEO Robert Coallier said the Cook's deal "furthers our strategy to give us a greater reach in this region, as well as deepens our market presence and product variety."

The co-op's members voted in March to approve a merger with another Nova Scotia dairy co-operative, Farmers' Co-operative Dairy, which distributes across Atlantic Canada.

Agropur, whose products include the Natrel, Quebon, Allegro, Olympic and Island Farms brands, has been on an intermittent buying run in recent years in the U.S.

Agropur last year also expanded the operations of Ultima Foods, its joint venture with Edmonton's Agrifoods International, to launch Iogo, a new yogurt and dairy product line.

Related story:
Agropur, Farmers Dairy to merge,
Feb. 11, 2013



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