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Maple Leaf Foods selling facility to Cavendish Farms

Maple Leaf Foods Inc (TSX: MFI) has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its potato processing facility in Lethbridge, Alberta to Cavendish Farms, an affiliate of J D Irving Ltd.

The Lethbridge facility employs about 135 people and makes a variety of frozen French fries, hash browns, and specialty potato products. This business has annual sales of around $75 million and markets its products to domestic and international customers. Maple Leaf will realize proceeds of roughly $60 million from the sale, which includes inventory and working capital that will be used to pay down debt. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2012.

“This business will be in good hands in a company that is focused on growth in the value-added potato business,” said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer. “The quality of our products and strength of our people, customers, and producer relationships were pivotal to completing this agreement.”

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Maple Leaf Foods employs approximately 19,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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