Second major Canadian hog company faces money woes

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Puratone Corp., one of the three largest hog producers in Manitoba, filed for creditor protection on Sept. 12. Puratone is the second major pork producers to have financial troubles following Big Sky Farms in Saskatchewan.

The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench granted the company protection from creditors for 30 days. Deloitte & Touche Inc. was appointed as a monitor to oversee the company’s operations during the restructuring.

“The immediate problem is a liquidity crisis prompted by escalating feed costs due in part to the drought in the United States,” said Roy Hildebrand, president and chief executive officer of Puratone, in an affidavit filed with the court. “However, this is but the latest of the series of misfortunates which have befallen the hog industry in this country over the past five years and undermined the working capital of a well-managed, nationally renowned and, previously profitable, business.”

The company also cited a strong Canadian dollar and mandatory country-of-origin labeling in the US as contributing factors that were causing many hog producers’ financial losses.

The company currently has approximately 29,000 sows in its breeding herd, which represents approximately 2.2 percent of Canada's entire sow herd, the affidavit states. Puratone produces in more than 500,000 slaughter hogs annually. In addition, the company owns several related businesses, including three feed mills, three farm supply retail stores and agro-environmental research and development.

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