Maple Leaf Foods Inc. announced Nov. 13 that it has closed the acquisition of VIAU Foods, a Canadian market leader in premium Italian cooked, dry-cured and charcuterie meats, for a purchase price of $215 million, including $30 million in Maple Leaf stock. With sales of $180 million as of fiscal year ended March 31, the transaction is expected to be accretive to Maple Leaf's earnings per share in the first year and to the Company's margin expansion over time.

Established in 1977, VIAU produces a range of value-added prepared meat products including Italian cooked meats, sausages, pizza toppings, shaved steak and meatballs. It also produces a range of gourmet deli and premium charcuterie products including salametti, capicollo, pancetta and sliced chorizo. VIAU is a leading supplier of dried pepperoni and other pizza toppings to the North American foodservice industry and markets its products through retailers across Canada.

This acquisition expands Maple Leaf's position in the growing market for premium dry cured and pepperoni meat products and provides further production capacity in Quebec, an important strategic base to grow both Canadian and U.S. sales. It also enables VIAU to expand its portfolio to include raised without antibiotic products, leveraging Maple Leaf's leadership in this growing market.

VIAU employs 470 people at its two Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) accredited facilities in Laval and Montreal. It follows leading food safety practices, supported by an on-site ISO accredited laboratory. The business will continue to be led by the current highly experienced management team. 

The transaction was financed through a combination of cash-on-hand and debt.