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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Sobeys to sell former Safeway dairy operation to Agropur co-op for $356 million

STELLARTON, N.S. - Sobeys is selling its milk, yogurt and ice cream manufacturing operations in Western Canada for $356 million to Agropur, a Quebec-based dairy co-operative.

The sale includes a total of four plants: two in Edmonton and one each in Winnipeg and Burnaby, B.C.

Together the manufacturing operations employ 281 people, process more than 160 million litres of milk per year and generate about $400 million of annual revenue.

Agropur will license the Lucerne trademark from Sobeys and supply Sobeys, Safeway and IGA stores in the West through long-term supply arrangements.

The co-op's brands include Natrel, Quebon, Agropur, Sealtest and Island Farms and its 6,500 employees process more than 3.4 billion litres of milk per year at 32 plants across North America.

Sobeys is the national grocery division and main subsidiary of Empire Co. (TSX:EMP.A), which acquired the western dairy manufacturing operations as part of its purchase of Canada Safeway last year.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story: A previous version misspelled 'Lucerne'

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