Tyson's Lakeside plant sale near completion

by Bryan Salvage
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BROOKS, ALBERTA, CANADA – XL Foods Ltd.’s acquisition of Tyson Foods Inc.’s Lakeside Farm Industries is expected to be completed by mid-March. First announced in June 2008, the sale is moving forward now that the Canadian Competition Bureau indicated late last week it will not challenge it.

"We’re pleased the Competition Bureau has finished its review and we’re ready to move forward with the sale," said Leland Tollett, interim president and chief executive of Tyson Foods. "Lakeside is one of Canada’s leading beef processing operations, but it simply no longer fits our company’s long-term strategy."

Tyson’s international focus is now primarily on Asia, Mexico and South America.

Although Tyson will no longer own a beef plant in Canada, it still intends to continue buying Canadian cattle to supply some of its U.S. beef operations, such as its beef complex in Pasco, Wash., Mr. Tollett said.

The US$82.7 million sale of Lakeside includes U.S$43.5million that will be paid at closing. The remaining US$39.2 million, plus interest, will be paid over a five-year period following closing. As part of the transaction, XL is also buying cattle, feed, fertilizer and packaging inventories.

Brooks, Alberta-based Lakeside Farm Industries is a diversified agribusiness involved in cattle feeding, slaughtering and processing, as well as retail fertilizer production and farming. Lakeside employs 2,300 people. The Lakeside beef plant has the capacity to slaughter and process 4,700 head of cattle a day. The commodity boxed beef produced by the plant is primarily sold to customers in Canada and the U.S.

XL Foods Inc. is the largest Canadian owned-and-operated beef processor in Canada and is part of the Nilsson Bros. Group of companies, which is a diverse agri-business that is involved in all facets of beef and cattle production, marketing and processing. XL Foods Inc. operates facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nebraska and Idaho.

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