Diversification not part of Maple Leaf Foods growth plan

Maple Leaf Foods expects to continue to grow through acquisitions, but it does not anticipate it will diversify into other animal species.

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Maple Leaf Foods President and CEO Michael McCain | Maple Leaf Foods
Maple Leaf Foods President and CEO Michael McCain | Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods will continue to consider acquisitions as part of its growth plan, but the company’s CEO said it does not intend to invest in new product categories.

Maple Leaf Foods, a Canadian company which had earlier primarily been involved in the poultry and pork sectors, entered new territory both geographically and product-wise, when it acquired U.S. plant-based protein company Lightlife Foods in March 2017. It furthered its presence in the plant-based protein sector with the acquisition of Field Roast Grain Meat Co., another company based in the United States. The Field Roast Grain Meat Co. acquisition was finalized in late January.

Maple Leaf Foods President and CEO Michael H. McCain, during the company’s quarterly earnings call on February 22, said that it will continue to consider strategic acquisitions.

When asked by one analyst if potential acquisitions would include U.S. meat companies involved in the production and processing of other animal species, McCain said he thought such a scenario was “unlikely.”

“I think we’re very actively engaged, obviously, in the North American pork and poultry industry. I don’t see us broadening in a primary way outside of those two primary species,” said McCain.

“Today, most of our focus in the United States, particularly, would be in highly value-added processed meats that would be complimentary to the assets that we have, namely in our position in sustainable meat and/or plant-based proteins. Those are the two platforms that are most attractive to us.”

McCain said it could be expected that further acquisitions would be “bite-sized” and would be a good match for the protein sectors in which it presently operates.

“We’re not looking for any elephant hunting sort of transformational investments,” he said.

Maple Leaf Foods was formed in 1991 with the merger of Maple Leaf Mills Limited and Canada Packers Inc. The company is headquartered in Ontario.

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