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Cavendish Farms Expands to Western Canada

Company Acquires Frozen Potato Plant in Lethbridge, Alberta

DIEPPE, NB, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Cavendish Farms announced today it had concluded an agreement to buy the assets of Maple Leaf Potatoes, the frozen potato business of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., including a 142,000 sq. ft. processing facility in Lethbridge, Alberta.  The transaction is expected to close by year-end 2012.

"Cavendish Farms is focused on growth opportunities that are a good fit for our existing business.  This announcement will result in a more competitive Cavendish with stronger capabilities to service our customers from coast to coast in North America.  It enhances our national distribution network in the foodservice and retail sectors in Canada and builds on our strong position in the United States," said Robert Irving, President of Cavendish Farms and Co-Chief Executive Officer of J.D. Irving, Limited.

The company expects to retain all employees currently working at the Lethbridge plant in addition to international employees.  "We are pleased to be able to offer continued employment to those employees and look forward to their contributions as members of the Cavendish Farms team," Mr. Irving said.  "The Lethbridge plant is a well-maintained facility whose 135 employees produce quality frozen potato products for customers in Canada, in the United States and in key export markets."

Mr. Irving said he also looked forward to meeting with potato growers, suppliers and local stakeholders:  "A plant of this size and scale is important to the local economy in the City of Lethbridge, providing sustainable jobs and an anchor to the growing community in Southern Alberta.  We want to build on those longstanding relationships and continue investing and growing the business into the future."

Cavendish Farms will continue to produce and market all products formerly offered by Maple Leaf Potatoes in the near term and will seek to retain all existing customer relationships.  The Lethbridge plant currently produces a variety of high-quality products, including frozen French fries and other specialty potato products.  "I personally want to assure existing customers of our commitment to uninterrupted supply, quality products and service, and, to ensuring a seamless and efficient transition to Cavendish Farms," concluded Mr. Irving.

The Lethbridge plant is strategically located in close proximity to Southern Alberta's prime agricultural region, renowned for its high yields of quality potatoes ideal for French fry production.   The plant operates to the highest quality and safety standards and has been HACCP-certified since 2001.

About Cavendish Farms - Cavendish Farms is a producer of frozen potato and appetizer products in the food industry.  It supplies North American and international customers for retail, restaurant and institutional use.   The company operates three state-of-the-art potato processing plants - two on Prince Edward Island and the other in Jamestown, North Dakota.  It also operates a fourth plant specializing in appetizer products in Wheatley, Ontario.  Cavendish Farms is an award-winning leader in food safety.  For more information, visit the company's website at www.cavendishfarms.com.

About J.D. Irving, Limited - J.D. Irving, Limited is a diverse, family-owned enterprise with 130 years of involvement in the New Brunswick business community.  Founded in 1882, J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) has operations in Eastern Canada and the United States.  The company employs a dedicated team of approximately 15,000 employees who operate business units in Forestry & Forest Products; Road, Rail and Sea Transportation; Shipbuilding & Industrial Marine; Retail; Industrial Equipment, Construction Services & Building Materials; and Food and Consumer Products.  For more information, visit the company's website at www.jdirving.com.

SOURCE Cavendish Farms

Image with caption: "Cavendish Farms logo (CNW Group/Cavendish Farms)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121210_C7875_PHOTO_EN_21769.jpg

Image with caption: "Cavendish Farms is acquiring a plant in Lethbridge, Alberta.The company already operates three state-of-the-art potato processing plants in North America, including the one shown here in New Annan, Prince Edward Island. (CNW Group/Cavendish Farms)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121210_C7875_PHOTO_EN_21767.jpg

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