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Highbury Canco intends on acquiring Heinz plant in Leamington

HeinzHighbury Canco Corporation (HCC), an  Ontario-based consortium of investors, is pleased to announce that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Heinz to operate the 105-year old factory in Leamington, Ontario, known as the tomato capital of  Canada.

Sam Diab, HCC member and the current factory manager at the Leamington facility, said, “As a member of this community, I am honoured to be a part of this team who is focused on saving important jobs at the Heinz plant in Leamington.  We have a knowledgeable workforce, a vibrant local community, and this is a solid plan for a bright future.” Diab said, “We are at a critical stage in this process and are relying on the assistance of our strategic partners to move forward.  In the next few weeks, we will be working closely with Heinz, local farmers, UFCW 459, and all three levels of government.”

Under the terms of the LOI, HCC would assume responsibility for the Heinz Leamington site and transition to manufacturing, co-packing and distribution of certain products in early July. HCC intends to employ approximately 250 employees, plus additional seasonal employees. HCC’s growth plan, including subsequent investment in the Leamington site, would provide additional employment opportunities in the future.

“We believe that our investment in Leamington will become the cornerstone to providing Ontario’s agricultural products around the world, not just in Canada,” said Pradeep Sood, a member of HCC and spokesperson for the team. “HCC understands how to sell in emerging markets and we believe we can provide a nimble, proactive, customer-focused source of Canadian products for the world,” said Sood.

Michael Mullen, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs at Heinz, said, “We are delighted that HCC has come forward with this Letter of Intent to run the factory in Leamington, subject to completion of the full transaction. We look forward to working with this experienced and knowledgeable team to build a successful plan, not only to operate the facility but also to increase its potential.”

With looming deadlines surrounding the 2014 tomato crop, HCC hopes to move quickly through the next steps and confirm the commitments made by its strategic partners, which are critical to making the LOI a reality. HCC expects to announce decisions in the next few weeks.