Scotsburn enters deal to sell assets to Quebec co-op

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The local dairy industry has turned another page.
Scotsburn Co-operative Services Limited announced last week that it has entered into a binding agreement – subject to a vote of its shareholders – to sell nearly all its assets to Agropur Co-operative of Quebec.
The board of directors of Scotsburn voted unanimously to recommend to its membership to sell its assets to Agropur Cooperative. A vote by members will take place within the next several weeks to approve the transaction.
“After a great deal of careful consideration and detailed analysis, we felt the best option for maintaining frozen dairy production was ensuring that Scotsburn’s assets be sold to Agropur, a major North American dairy co-operative with deep roots in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada,” said Robbie MacGregor, a Pictou County dairy farmer who chairs Scotsburn’s board.
“This agreement safeguards many local jobs and helps ensure the future of local frozen dairy production, which is so important for our rural communities in these challenging times.”
As part of the agreement, Agropur will assume all responsibilities under Scotsburn’s collective bargaining agreements in place for nearly 260 employees in the Maritimes and Quebec. All of Scotsburn’s creditors, including Nova Scotia Business Incorporated (NSBI), will be repaid on the deal’s closing.
Jeff Burrows, who is from Pictou County and has been with Scotsburn for 10 years and only recently became its CEO, said the deal is a good one, given the “increasingly difficult” market for ice cream and other frozen products Scotsburn has switched to in recent years.
“Overall, this gives us a bigger platform for us to make and market our ice cream,” he said. “We’ll be a pretty strong ice cream entity.”
Member meetings are being scheduled over the coming weeks to allow members an opportunity to discuss the transaction with the board of directors and management. The proposed deal must also receive the approval of the Competition Bureau of Canada before it can take effect.
Burrows, who was previously Scotsburn’s director of finance and chief financial officer before becoming its CEO in October, is not certain about his fate with the group.
“Time will tell how it will affect me,” he said of the deal.
Scotsburn traces its roots as a farm-owned creamery from 1900.
It markets itself as Atlantic Canada’s leading brand of ice cream and frozen novelties and one of the largest manufacturers of private label products for major customers across Canada, but its local presence has faded while it has transferred its operations from Pictou County to Truro.

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