The chance of a rescue for Quebec’s Levinoff-Colbex cull cow packing plant has passed, now that the facility’s equipment has been sold off piecemeal at auction.
Provincial investment financing agency Investissement Quebec and other creditors still own the Colbex building and land at St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, in the Centre-du-Quebec region. But the plant’s receivers sold its equipment to a consortium of liquidators including Montreal’s C3 and Toronto’s TCL Asset Group.
While the liquidators have previously said they would have preferred a deal with a buyer interested in using all the equipment as is, where is, TCL’s Terrance Jacobs said Friday the companies had a deadline to get the equipment out of the building if a buyer couldn’t be found.
The equipment auction, held live Tuesday at the St-Cyrille plant and online, attracted about 130 buyers from around the world, he said.
“Pretty much everything” has been sold except for structural items such as catwalks and walkways, which the liquidators plan to remove for scrap, he said. Buyers began removing their purchases starting Wednesday morning, he added.
“We should have the plant emptied out within a three- to four-week period,” he said.
The Levinoff-Colbex facility, billed as Eastern Canada’s largest cull cow slaughter and processing plant, with capacity to handle 4,750 cows per week, also held the equipment from the long-closed Levinoff-Colbex further-processing plant in Montreal.
Tuesday’s divestiture officially closes the book on the facility, which had been the main cull packer for producers in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and Ontario since Gencor Foods’ plant at Kitchener shut down in 2008.
The Colbex plant had opened in the late 1970s and merged its operations in 1998 with those of Montreal processor Levinoff. The site was blockaded by cattle producers in 2004 in the wake of the BSE crisis, when the bottom dropped out of the market for cull cattle from dairy and beef operations.
Quebec’s cattle producer group, the Federation des producteurs de bovins du Quebec (FPBQ), bought an 80 per cent stake in the plant in 2007. The FPBQ in 2008 set up a levy worth $53.86 per cull cow to fund upgrades at the plant.
However, the plant went into receivership in 2012 shortly after shutting its doors indefinitely, leaving producers on the hook for the $53.86 levy through the end of this year.
Jacobs said the liquidators had been in discussions with the FPBQ and local municipal officials before Tuesday’s deadline.
A cattle producers’ co-op, the Cooperative d’abattage du Quebec, also proposed a new business plan for the plant this summer to Investissement Quebec, but the group’s proposal for the facility was rejected in favour of the liquidation firms’ bid.
Jacobs wouldn’t say Friday how much the auction sale netted for the liquidator companies.
TCL’s roster for future liquidations includes the assets of several meat processing plants, among them former Maple Leaf Foods facilities at Kitchener, Toronto and Winnipeg. Auctions of those facilities’ equipment are to be held in the new year, he said. — AGCanada.com Network