Cavendish Farms grows, acquires Omstead Appetizer division



    MONCTON, NB, July 29 /CNW/ - Cavendish Farms, one of North America's
leading producers of frozen potato products, today announces that it has
purchased the Appetizer division of Omstead Foods. The deal includes the
purchase of the Omstead Appetizers name, the processing equipment at the
Wheatley, Ontario plant, as well as a lease on the facility.
    "Cavendish Farms is focused on investing in strategic growth
opportunities that are a good fit for our existing businesses and expand our
product offering to valued customers," Robert Irving, President of Cavendish
Farms said. "This acquisition greatly enhances our presence in the food
service and retail sector in Canada, and adds to our presence in the US market
as well."
    Cavendish Farms will integrate the Wheatley, Ontario plant into Cavendish
Farms' operations and run the plant as part of a new Appetizer Division.
"During the current challenging business climate we are pleased to be able to
invest and grow our food business as part of our long-term growth strategy,"
said Irving.
    The company expects to retain the vast majority of current Omstead
employees working at the appetizer plant. "We are pleased to be able to offer
continuing employment to the majority of employees," Irving said, "and look
forward to their contributions as employees within the Cavendish Farms
family."
    Cavendish Farms will continue to market all coated appetizer products
formerly offered by Omstead Foods, and will retain all existing relationships
with customers. Processing and shipments to current customers will continue on
schedule, and customers will be receiving direct communication in the coming
days with respect to ongoing plans.

    
                   Omstead Acquisition - Additional Facts
                   --------------------------------------

    - The deal includes only Omstead's appetizer operations - the rights to
      the Omstead Appetizer name, the purchase of the equipment and lease of
      the facility in Wheatley, Ontario.
    - There is no connection to Omstead's previous sale of its Vegetable and
      Seafood division, or the existing Fruit division.
    - Cavendish Farms will operate the Wheatley plant as part of its new
      Cavendish Appetizer Division.
    - Current distribution agreements will remain in place in the near term.
    - Cavendish Farms will continue to process and market all current Omstead
      coated appetizers, and will review product lines as part of its regular
      and ongoing business operations plan.
    - The 150 current Omstead employees working in the Appetizer division
      will be offered continuing employment with Cavendish Farms
    - The Omstead brand will be phased out and repositioned as Cavendish
      Appetizers over a 12 month period

                     Background Facts - Cavendish Farms
                     ----------------------------------
    

    Cavendish Farms is the fourth largest processor of frozen potato products
in North America, supplying leading grocery, food service and quick service
restaurants around the world.
    Cavendish Farms operates two plants in Prince Edward Island, Canada and a
third in Jamestown, ND, USA. Their strategic location near prime potato
growing regions allows Cavendish Farms to use only the best varieties of
potatoes for frozen french fry processing.
    Cavendish Farms is a member of the Irving Group of Companies - a
family-owned organization whose commitment to quality products and services
dates back 127 years.
    Founded in 1882, the Irving Group has operations in Eastern Canada (New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland
and Labrador), and the United States. We are a team of 15,000 dedicated
employees, with business units in:

    
    - Forestry & Forest Products
    - Transportation
    - Food Processing
    - Shipbuilding & Industrial Marine
    - Retail
    - Fertilizers
    - Industrial Equipment, Construction Services & Building Materials
    - Translation
    - Consumer Products
    

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: Mary Keith, Vice President Communications,
(506) 632-5122, (506) 650-8209 (cell)

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