EDMONTON — XL Foods has entered into a management agreement with a Canadian subsidiary of JBS USA, a subsidiary of the Brazil-based JBS S.A. JBS will assume management of certain XL Canadian beef packing operations and the XL Calgary beef plant.
“We know full well the commitment it takes to manage world-class operations that produce safe and nutritious products for consumers around the world. We believe our experienced team will prove an invaluable asset in the management of XL Lakeside, and we look forward to exploring our options to purchase XL assets in the near future,” Bill Rupp, president and COO of JBS USA, is quoted as saying by Montreal’s Gazette newspaper.
“This action is another positive step to relicensing the XL Lakeside beef plant in Brooks, Alberta. We welcome the assistance of JBS and their resources,” said Brian Nilsson, co-CEO of XL Foods.
The agreement includes the option to purchase XL’s Lakeside beef plant, XL Calgary beef plant and XL’s U.S beef packing operations as well as Lakeside Feedyards, a feedlot and farming operation near Brooks, Alta. The agreement does not include JBS USA assumption of XL Foods debt and liabilities.
The XL Foods plant was shut down by CFIA more than two weeks ago to investigate food-safety procedures following the recall of its beef due to E. coli contamination. Meanwhile, the company has been undergoing labour issues, laying off and hiring back workers. The latest rounds of layoffs were Wednesday. It is still unclear when the CFIA will give the company the green light to open the plant for operations.
JBS USA has 140 production facilities worldwide and more than 120,000 employees. Purported to be the largest animal protein processor in the world, the company has processing plants in Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Australia, the U.S., Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, China and Russia.