Quebec flagship maple syrup | Bernard Industries becomes Irish

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

Posted at 7 am.

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The press

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

Bernard Industries, so far owned by five generations of the eponymous family, buys and processes around 30 million pounds of maple syrup a year. For comparison, overall production in Quebec in 2021 was 133 million pounds. The activities of Industries Bernard will remain grouped at the Saint-Victor plant, and the management team, in particular its president Yves Bernard, as well as the personnel will remain on site.

“This is excellent news for our company and for the inflight industry,” says Martin Bernard, Yves’ son and executive vice president.

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

Martin Bernard, Executive Vice President, Bernard Industries

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

Known brand in Quebec

Valeo Foods Group, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a major food retailer present in around 100 countries, compared to around 40 for Bernard Industries. It is also Valeo that has been distributing Bernard maple syrup under the Buckwud brand in Great Britain for 12 years.

The maple syrup market is usually a private label business in supermarkets, and Bernard sells under the chain’s top brands almost everywhere. It is especially in Quebec that 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. The purchase of 100% of Bernard Industries is intended, in particular, to give it a springboard for the growth of its activities in North America.

“You are a great player, Valeo, and he has indicated his desire to continue the company’s growth in international markets,” notes Mr. PPAQ Vaudeville. Last year alone, growth was 20%. We will continue to sell our syrup. »

“Reach the World”

Mr. Fauteux recognizes that the acquisition by a foreign company of this Quebec company founded at the beginning of the 19th century.and century could make people cringe. “We did a very broad sales process, we got in touch with many players in Quebec”, he reports.

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

François Fauteux, Managing Partner at Phoenix

The fourth generation of the Bernards, including President Yves, needed a partner in 2017 to “professionalize the company,” which Phoenix Partners made possible by doubling revenue in five years. “Our partners told us last summer that it was time to sell the company so the fourth generation could profit,” explains Mr. Fauteux.

The transaction, he says, created “a few billionaires” in Quebec who, in turn, will reinvest and start businesses here. The Bernards acquired Valeo shares in the transaction, which will allow them to have a voice in management. The Dublin-based company is looking for other businesses to acquire, says the managing partner. “There are still some maple syrup companies to buy, smaller players that would be interesting for Valeo, which wants to stay in these categories, with confectionery and honey. »

Bernard Industries is ranked number two in the world in the processing and distribution of maple syrup, behind Lantic/Rogers Sugar, which acquired LB Maple Treat in Granby in 2017.

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