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Several parties still have eye on Big Sky hog farms

Canada’s second-biggest hog farm, Big Sky Farms, remains up for sale to the highest bidder, with several parties interested although the federal Competition Bureau cleared the way this week for a sale to Quebec meat processor Olymel.

The Competition Bureau said Monday there were no competition issues that would prevent Olymel’s $65 million offer for Big Sky from going ahead.

Big Sky entered receivership in September after piling up $69 million in debt to secured creditors. Soaring costs of feeding its hogs had left the company unable to pay its bills.

In addition to Olymel, other parties remain interested in buying Big Sky, and a sales process may still head to auction in January, said Kevin Brennan, senior vice-president of the receiver for Big Sky at Ernst and Young.

"The Competition Bureau announcement with respect to Olymel is strictly a procedural matter," Brennan said. "It doesn’t mean there aren’t other interested parties in acquiring Big Sky. There are, and that process continues."

Other companies have until Dec. 28 to submit a higher bid for Big Sky, headquartered near Humboldt, Sask. with annual production totalling over a million hogs through barns in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

If necessary, bidders would participate in an auction for the company on Jan. 8.

The Competition Bureau on Monday also approved Maple Leaf Foods’ planned purchase of distressed Manitoba hog producer Puratone Corp. for $42 million. — Reuters

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