Quebec flagship maple syrup | Industries Bernard goes Irish

One of the best-known distributors and bottlers of maple syrup in Quebec, Industries Bernard, becomes the property of an Irish company, Valeo.

Posted at 7:00 am

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The press

According to the announcement made on Wednesday by the majority shareholder since 2017 of Industries Bernard & Fils ltée, the Montreal fund Phoenix Partners, the transaction should allow the Saint-Victor company, in Beauce, to double its turnover in five years. . The amount of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

Industries Bernard, owned by five generations of the family of the same name, buys and processes about 30 million pounds of maple syrup annually. By comparison, total production in Quebec in 2021 was £133 million. Industries Bernard’s activities will remain grouped in the Saint-Victor plant, and the management team, in particular its chairman Yves Bernard, as well as the staff will remain in place.

“This is excellent news for our company and for the maple industry,” said Martin Bernard, son of Yves and executive vice president.

Maple products are attracting more and more consumers internationally and it was important to us to find a partner who could help us maximize our potential.

Martin Bernard, Executive Vice President of Industries Bernard

Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (PPAQ), which has some 13,300 members, is also pleased with the transaction. “We are still happy for the Bernard family, they remain involved in their business,” said Joël Vaudeville, spokesperson. It is the expertise of Quebec’s know-how that is preserved. †

Famous brand in Quebec

Valeo Foods Group, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a major food retailer with a presence in approximately 100 countries, compared to approximately 40 for Industries Bernard. It is also Valeo who has been distributing Bernard maple syrup under the Buckwud brand in the UK for 12 years.

The maple syrup market is generally a private label supermarket business, and Bernard sells under the major chain brands almost everywhere. Especially in Quebec they sell a lot under the Bernard brand.

François Fauteux, managing partner at Phoenix

Valeo was acquired in 2021 by an American investment fund, Bain Capital. Specifically, the acquisition of 100% of Industries Bernard is intended to provide it with a springboard to grow its business in North America.

“It is a major player, Valeo, and he has indicated his desire to continue growing the company in international markets,” notes Mr. Vaudeville by PPAQ op. Only last year the growth was 20%. We continue to sell our syrup. †

“Reach the World”

Mr Fauteux acknowledges that the acquisition by a foreign company of this Quebec company founded in the early 19th centuryand century can make people cringe. “We did a very broad sales process, we approached many players in Quebec,” he reports.

We would have loved to sell it in Quebec, but there was a perfect match. Valeo not only offered an interesting offer, but it was what the family wanted. There it is the world that Valeo will reach.

François Fauteux, managing partner at Phoenix

The fourth generation of Bernards, including President Yves, needed a partner in 2017 to “professionalize the business,” enabling Phoenix Partners to double sales in five years. “Our partners told us last summer that it would be time to sell the company so the fourth generation could make money,” explains Mr. Armchairs out.

The transaction, he says, has created “a few multimillionaires” in Quebec, who will in turn reinvest and start businesses here. The Bernards acquired Valeo stock in the operation, giving them a say in its management. The Dublin company is looking for other companies to take over, says the managing partner. “There are still some maple syrup companies for sale, smaller players that would be interesting for Valeo, who want to stay in these categories, with confectionery and honey.”

Industries Bernard is considered the world’s number two for maple syrup processing and distribution, after Lantic/Rogers Sugar, which acquired LB Maple Treat in Granby in 2017.

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