Congebec wants to freeze abroad

With its sixty million cubic feet of freezers, Congebec receives $2 billion worth of food at its facilities annually, from turkey to cranberries to certain baked goods. And with the recent arrival of National Bank Private Placements as a minority shareholder, the Quebec company intends to expand overseas.

Posted at 7:00 am

Nathaelle Morissette

Nathaelle Morissette
The press

The arrival of this new shareholder means that “we will stay here,” affirmed Nicholas-P. Pedneault, President and Chief Executive Officer of Congebec, during an interview with The press via video conference. National Bank Private Equity’s participation was announced via a press release.

“There’s a major consolidation war going on in my industry, it’s a lot easier to sell now than move on,” notes Mr. Pedneault. We decided to continue, but wanted to be better equipped financially to do so. That’s why we made this transaction, to have partners to accompany us as we grow. »

“We are looking at the possibility of leaving the country and using our know-how elsewhere,” he says, without specifying which countries he intends to extend his tentacles to. “We’re probably among the best in the world when it comes to managing the type of equipment we run. »

Concretely, Congebec – one of the leading companies in its field in the country – enables various producers in the agri-food industry to stabilize their stocks in order to meet consumer needs all year round. His most important work tool: the freezer. “Apparently the consumer doesn’t know us,” explains Nicholas-P. Pednault. We do magic behind the scenes. »

The Québec City-based company stores things like fruit, vegetables, meat, ice cream and even certain baked goods in its huge freezers. “There’s not much in the grocery store that doesn’t make it through our freezers. »

“The cranberry processor wants to process all year round, but the harvest takes three weeks,” explains the company boss. He can’t process all this in three weeks, he has to freeze them first. We will freeze them. »

Same scenario for the turkey, he adds. In order for a large proportion of consumers to place it at the center of the table at Christmas, the peak season for demand for this poultry, processing must begin in January. “There is nobody who could produce enough turkey a few weeks before Christmas.” The same goes for the logs, which must also be frozen, since it is impossible to wait until the beginning of December to prepare the traditional dessert.

Congebec has 12 facilities in five Canadian provinces. A thirteenth, currently under construction in Mascouche, will be added to the list next year.

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