One of the largest pork companies in Canada is no longer owned by Manitobans.
Today, HyLife announced it has sold 50.1 percent of its shares to Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CPF) — a company based in Thailand.
Itochu, a Japanese firm, will continue to own 49.9 percent of HyLife.
“This is a win-win for HyLife, CPF and Manitoba’s agricultural industry,” said Grant Lazaruk, HyLife chief executive officer, in a statement. “Through this agreement, we will build on the success of our growing pork business and brands to our customers globally.”
The sale means there will be no local ownership of HyLife, which operates hog barns in Manitoba and has a pork processing plant in Neepawa, Man.
The firm produces 2.3 million hogs annually, slaughters two million hogs and sells pork to more than 20 countries. HyLife employs about 2,500 people.
Claude Vielfaure, HyLife president, said the foreign investment is a good news story for Manitoba and Canada’s pork industry.
“CPF has been looking to invest in North America,” he said. “They’re the third largest pork production company in the world.”
The CPF investment should provide a boost for Manitoba’s pork sector because the company wants HyLife to grow and increase its pork sales around the globe, Vielfaure said.
Current leaders of HyLife will remain in place and will continue to make management decisions, subject to shareholder approval.
“The Province of Manitoba has been open for business and has empowered our company to attract foreign investment and to enable us to grow our integrated pork company domestically and internationally,” Vielfaure said.
The deal to buy HyLife is not finalized because regulatory approvals are pending. However, it’s expected to close by the third quarter of 2019.