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Ardent Mills sells Ontario bakery ingredient plant

Facility, staff go to bakery service firm Dawn Foods

Flour miller Ardent Mills plans to push off further from the sweet baking ingredient business, with a deal to sell its southern Ontario ingredient mix plant.

Denver-based Ardent said Monday it closed a deal the previous Friday to sell its Burlington, Ont. plant to U.S. bakery ingredient processor Dawn Foods. The deal’s financial terms weren’t mentioned in either company’s announcement.

The Burlington plant’s staff and Canadian clients “will be well taken care of by Dawn and we are committed to a smooth transition,” Ardent CEO Dan Dye said in that company’s release.

Dye described the deal as a “mutually beneficial acquisition (which) allows us to step away from sweet ingredient mixes and concentrate on flour and savoury mixes.”

The two companies’ agreement calls for Ardent to continue to supply flour to the Burlington plant under Dawn’s ownership, they said.

The Burlington plant, a former Robin Hood dry baking mix facility, “will provide increased access to our industry-leading products for our Canadian customers,” Dawn CEO Carrie Jones-Barber said in a separate release.

Expanding Dawn’s operations in Canada, she said, also “allows us to deliver our targeted insights, innovations, products and bakery expertise to even more bakeries across the country.”

Based at Jackson, Michigan, about 130 km west of Windsor, Dawn stepped out of the Canadian flour milling business in 2007 when it sold its Saskatchewan mills to Dover Industries, later absorbed by Parrish and Heimbecker.

The Michigan firm said Monday the Burlington deal allows Dawn and Ardent “to continue to focus on their core capabilities” in baking ingredients and flour respectively.

Horizon Milling, a Cargill/CHS joint venture, bought the Burlington plant from J.M. Smucker in 2006 and brought it to Ardent Mills — itself a joint venture between Horizon and ConAgra Brands — when Ardent formed in 2013.

Ardent announced last month it will shut four of its U.S. flour mills by the first quarter of 2020, citing “anticipated demand and to enhance the efficiency of the Ardent Mills network.”

Ardent’s remaining Canadian operations include the former Robin Hood flour mills at Saskatoon and Montreal, the former Kraft Milling soft wheat flour mill at Mississauga and another former Robin Hood baking mix plant at Saskatoon. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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