Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Metro Supermarket Buying Majority Stake in Quebec Bakery Premiere Moisson

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Metro Supermarket Buying Majority Stake in Quebec Bakery Premiere Moisson

Article excerpt

Metro to buy majority stake in Quebec bakery

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MONTREAL - Supermarket chain Metro is buying a majority stake in leading Quebec bakery Premiere Moisson to fuel the family run company's expansion while adding to its own product offering in a competitive market.

The Colpron-Fiset family, which founded the bakery in 1992, will retain 25 per cent of the company and continue to manage its 23 stores and three production plants. The purchase price wasn't disclosed.

"For Metro, it's a strategic partnership because it will help us to differentiate our banners with fresh and quality products," Metro CEO Eric La Fleche said Tuesday at a news conference at Premiere Moisson's Atwater Market bakery.

Montreal-based Metro (TSX:MRU) said the partnership is set to close in a few weeks and will expand a relationship that has grown over more than 20 years. About 20 per cent of Premiere Moisson's $100 million of annual sales are to Metro, including as a baker for some of its private label bread.

Metro plans to help finance the expansion of Premiere Moisson's premium artisan brands throughout Quebec and eventually across Ontario. In addition to crusty baguettes and other bread, Premiere Moisson sells premium cakes and pastries, gluten-free products, deli items and various ready-to-eat dishes.

The partners hope to more than double the number of retail stores by adding bakeries in other parts of the province before focusing on Ontario, where it has one store.

It's a partnership model that Metro used in 2011 to acquire a majority stake in ethnic grocer Adonis, which has begun to add locations in Toronto.

Canada's third-largest supermarket chain is in tough competition with Loblaw (TSX:L), Sobey's (TSX:EMP.A) and Costco, while its discount banners fend off U.S. banners Wal-Mart and Target.

Premiere Moisson president Liliane Colpron said the partnership with Quebec's leading food chain allows the company to make the leap from a family business to one that can reach more customers. …

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