DIEPPE, NEW BRUNSWICK — Cavendish Farms, an affiliate of J.D. Irving Ltd., has agreed to acquire the assets of Maple Leaf Potatoes, the frozen potato business of Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods Inc. for approximately $60 million. The transaction includes a 142,000-square-foot processing facility in Lethbridge, Alta., that makes a variety of products, including frozen french fries, hash browns and other specialty potato products.

“Cavendish Farms is focused on growth opportunities that are a good fit for our existing business,” said Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms and co-chief executive officer of J.D. Irving Ltd. “This announcement will result in a more competitive Cavendish with stronger capabilities to service our customers from coast to coast in North America. It enhances our national distribution network in the food service and retail sectors in Canada and builds on our strong position in the United States.”

Cavendish Farms will continue to produce and market all products formerly offered by Maple Leaf Potatoes in the near term and will seek to retain all existing customer relationships.

Maple Leaf Foods said the Lethbridge facility generates annual sales of approximately $75 million.

“This business will be in good hands in a company that is focused on growth in the value-added potato business,” said Michael McCain, president and c.e.o. of Maple Leaf. “The quality of our products and strength of our people, customer and producer relationships were pivotal to completing this agreement.”