Snowcrest Packers and Heinz Purchase Omstead

Snowcrest Packers Ltd. purchased, on January 6, 2003, all the shares of Omstead Foods Limited and its U.S. marketing arm, Omstead Foods Inc., from H.J. Heinz Company of Canada Ltd. and its U.S. parent, H.J. Heinz Company, for an undisclosed amount. The financing was provided by Bank of Montreal, CIBC, MG Stratum Fund II, Limited Partnership (a fund managed by an affiliate of McKenna Gale Capital Inc.) and TriWest Capital Partners Inc.

Abbotsford, B.C.-based Snowcrest Packers is a supplier of frozen fruits and vegetables, and Omstead, based in Wheatley, Ontario, is one of the oldest food companies in southwestern Ontario. The purchase by Snowcrest included a distribution centre and the production operations at Omstead’s two factories in Wheatley. Heinz Canada is based in Toronto, and its parent company is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On March 2, Snowcrest and Omstead amalgamated, with the entity operating as Omstead Foods Limited.

Snowcrest was represented by Bennett Jones LLP, with a team that included Bruce Barker, Lindsey Hutton, Matthew Howorth and Stephen Moore (corporate), Donald Salisbury (banking), Mary Beth Currie (employment) and Kyle Genga (real estate) in Toronto and Bryan Haynes, Chip Johnston and Brent Ludwig (corporate), Mitch Williams (banking), Stan Ebel (tax), Chris Brown (pensions), Martin Kratz (intellectual property), Brad Gilmour (environmental) and Beth Riley (competition) in Calgary.

Heinz was represented by Stikeman Elliott LLP, with a team that included David McCarthy, D’Arcy Nordick and Michael Burkett (corporate) Dana Porter (real estate), Gary Nachshen (pensions) and Larry Cobb (environmental) in Toronto and Susan Hutton (competition) in Ottawa; by Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto with a team that included Joel Shafer and Paul Stepak (tax) and Brian Gray (intellectual property); and by Fred Hamilton, Q.C. (labour and employment) of Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP in Toronto.
Bank of Montreal and CIBC were represented by McCarthy Tétrault LLP, with a team that included Joel Scoler and Stephen Furlan (banking), Susan Spence (real estate) and Suzanne Murphy in Toronto and Derek Winnett (banking) and Michael Birch (real estate) in Vancouver.

McKenna Gale was represented by Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, with a team that included Jay Swartz and Derek Vesey (corporate), Jeffrey Lem (real estate) and Alexandria Pike (environmental).