Ontario meat processor buys into poultry slaughter

ADP Direct buys Cami International

File photo of uncooked chicken wings. (Mimadeo/iStock/Getty Images)

A growth-minded Toronto poultry and deli meat further-processing company has made a vertical move with a deal for a federally-inspected Niagara-area poultry slaughter plant.

ADP Direct Poultry announced Friday it has bought up 100 per cent ownership of Cami International Poultry, a slaughter and processing facility at Welland, Ont., for an undisclosed amount. The deal closed effective Thursday, ADP said.

“I’ve believed for years that vertical integration was critical to the company’s long-term aspirations,” ADP CEO Augo Pinho, who set up Direct Poultry in 2005 and added Toronto-based Premium Foods in 2013, said in a release.

Cami is billed as one of few primary poultry processors in Ontario with both Canadian Food Inspection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture certification, ADP said, and its plant produces a premium “air-chilled” poultry line.

The Welland facility is currently federally licensed for poultry slaughter, boning and cutting as well as halal slaughter, and is also licensed for export to the U.S. and Vietnam.

ADP’s two Toronto processing plants are also certified for halal and for organic processing, supplying retail, foodservice, industrial and “co-pack” customers.

“Cami’s business operations end where ADP’s further poultry processing operations begin, so there isn’t overlap between the two businesses,” Pinho said.

Most of Cami’s 55 employees will stay on, the company added, though “some sales and accounting functions will be consolidated.”

However, noting the Cami business’ “significant capacity for growth,” ADP said “a planned plant expansion will result in a net increase in employees.”

Adding the Cami operation, Pinho said, “gives ADP a consistent supply of poultry with the size and specification required by ADP customers.”

ADP vice-president Christopher Hobbs, in the same release Friday, said the company’s “strategic plan is focused on organic growth, vertical integration, diversification and branded products.”

The company, which also holds the Simple Path and Chef’s Kitchen brands, expanded into branded poultry in 2018 when it bought the Ontario-based organic and natural poultry brand Blue Goose, he said.

ADP then diversified its product base in January this year, taking over New Brunswick-based retail and foodservice deli meat processor Bonte Foods.

The “vertical integration” from the Cami deal “secures our future and allows us to now focus on organic growth,” Hobbs said in Friday’s release.

The Cami plant’s federal license had just been reinstated this summer following a suspension that ran Jan. 10 to July 1.

CFIA said in January there was no food recall involved, but the suspension stemmed from “a human health risk related to the contamination of meat products, the identification, analysis, prevention, reduction and elimination of the hazards associated with contamination, and non-compliances related to the humane receiving and handling of animals requirements.”

The Cami plant’s license had previously been suspended from Oct. 4 to Nov. 28 in 2019, after CFIA said the company “failed to comply with humane treatment provisions related to the slaughter of poultry.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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