Neepawa-based pork processor HyLife Ltd. has secured a strategic investment from a major Japanese customer, Itochu Corporation.
According to executive vice-president of HyLife, Claude Vielfaure, the Japanese company invested nearly $56.5 million, giving them a 33.4 per cent stake in HyLife.
“This entitles them to be a part of the company’s decision-making process and since they do business in 57 countries around the world, it gives us the opportunity to grow with them in different areas of our business,” he said.
“But we will maintain majority control and management control of the company.”
HyLife recently added 280 jobs to its hog plant in Neepawa and with help from this new investor, Neepawa Mayor Ken Waddell has good reason to hope for an even larger expansion in the future.
“It strengthens the company so it’s very good news for Neepawa, HyLife and hopefully the Itochu Corporation,” Waddell said. “I think it will position them to look at an expansion further down the road.”
The investment will also help strengthen HyLife’s position within the global market of food production.
“We have had several years of significant growth and this investment will propel us even further in our business plans,” HyLife president Don Janzen said.
Vielfaure added that the Japanese company has been purchasing product from HyLife for the past two years and that this strategic partnership has been in the works for nearly 12 months.
“It’s a company we have been dealing with as a customer on our meat side.”
• HyLife was founded in 1994 when two family farms joined with a common vision of a sustainable, integrated farm-to-food pork business.
• It’s one of Canada’s leading integrated pork processors and sells its products around the world.
• The company’s head office is in La Broquerie.
• The plant employs about 1,550 people.
• It has platinum status as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.HyLife has been a member of the Best Managed Companies program for eight years.
» Brandon Sun