* Bids for Big Sky will be accepted until Dec. 28
* Regulator finds no grounds to prevent sale to Olymel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba Dec 19 Canada's
second-biggest hog farm, Big Sky Farms, remains up for sale to
the highest bidder, with several parties interested although the
country's Competition Bureau cleared the way this week for a
sale to Quebec meat processor Olymel LP.
The Competition Bureau said on Monday there were no
competition issues that would prevent Olymel's C$65-million ($66
million) offer for Big Sky from going ahead.
Big Sky entered receivership in September after piling up
C$69 million in debt to secured creditors. Soaring costs of
feeding its hogs had left the company unable to pay its bills.
In addition to Olymel, other parties remain interested in
buying Big Sky, and a sales process may still head to auction in
January, said Kevin Brennan, senior vice-president of the
receiver for Big Sky at Ernst & Young.
"The Competition Bureau announcement with respect to Olymel
is strictly a procedural matter," Brennan said. "It doesn't mean
there aren't other interested parties in acquiring Big Sky.
There are, and that process continues."
Other companies have until Dec. 28 to submit a higher bid
for Big Sky, a 1-million pig operation based near Humboldt,
Saskatchewan. If necessary, bidders would participate in an
auction for the company on Jan. 8.
The Competition Bureau also approved Maple Leaf Foods'
purchase of distressed Canadian hog producer Puratone
Corporation for C$42 million.
Soaring grain costs, due to the severe U.S. drought, have
caused North American hog farmers incur losses, forcing some to
exit the industry.