* Hog farms stressed by high feed costs
* Big Sky, Puratone see new ownership
WINNIPEG, Manitoba Jan 9 Privately held pork
processor Olymel LP will buy one of Canada's largest hog farms
out of receivership, after no superior bids emerged.
Olymel will pay C$65.25 million ($65.91 million) for Big Sky
Farms, which is based in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, in a deal that
will likely close by the end of January, said the receiver,
Ernst & Young senior vice-president Kevin Brennan, on Wednesday.
Olymel made the offer in October, kicking off a sales
process that would have led to an auction if there had been a
higher bid. The Montreal-based company currently does not raise
hogs, but operates a large hog-slaughter plant at Red Deer,
Big Sky entered receivership in early September after piling
up C$69 million in debt to secured creditors.
Soaring feed costs left the company, and many other hog
farms in North America, unable to pay their bills.
A severe drought in the United States decimated crops
last year, which led to higher costs for grains used to feed
Canada is the world's third-largest pork exporter.
Manitoba-based hog producer Puratone Corporation entered
court protection from creditors last year, and was purchased by
pork processor Maple Leaf Foods. Another large Canadian
hog farm, Manitoba-based HyLife, sold a minority stake in the
company to Japanese customer Itochu Corp this week.