© HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS
A Texas-based company has an agreement in the works to buy the Rothsay rendering plants, such as this one in Lower Truro, from Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
LOWER TRURO - A deal is in the works for the Rothsay rendering plant to be sold by Maple Leaf Foods Inc., to a Texas company.
If approved, the agreement will see Darling International of Irving, Texas, purchase the Rothsay rendering and bio-diesel business from Maple Leaf. That exchange would include the Rothsay plant in Lower Truro.
"We made the strategic decision to focus on our consumer-facing businesses," said Maple Leaf spokesman David Bauer, of the $645-million deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals.
"We expect the transaction to close by the end of the year. It could be sooner but it's subject to competition bureau review," he said. "It's our understanding that Darling intends to run the plant as business as usual."
No information is yet available as to how Darling will deal with the controversial issue of strong odours that emanate from the plant.
Melissa Gaither, Darling's director of investor relations, said she is not personally aware of the odour issue. But she said the company does have a reputation of being a good corporate citizen.
"We're a very good neighbour and proactive," she said.
Gaither could not offer further comment until the deal closes, which she said could be as soon as September, depending on the closing procedures in Canada.
Rothsay operates six rendering plants in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba as well as a bio-diesel plant in Quebec.
It employs about 550 people overall, with 35 employees at the Truro plant.
Maple Leaf has owned the facility since 1995.
"Through this sale, Maple Leaf will focus investment and growth in its core food businesses, while Rothsay will be better positioned to realize its full potential within a company dedicated to growth in the by-products recycling and biodiesel industries," Bauer said.