Lesli Bradley

The SunRype name, factory and workforce will remain in Kelowna in the wake of a buyout by Quebec-based Lassonde Industries.

“SunRype is very pleased the Lassonde transaction includes the SunRype brand and infrastructure here in Kelowna, as well as our facilities in Selah and Wapato, Washington,” said SunRype president Lesli Bradley.

“As part of this transaction, Lassonde will assume the long-term leases for the facilities located in Kelowna, Selah and Wapato.”

On Tuesday, Lassonde of Rougemont, Que., announced it will pay $80 million for Kelowna-based fruit juice and snack maker SunRype.

Currently, SunRype is owned by Jim Pattison Group, the Vancouver-based conglomerate that also has grocery stores Save-On-Foods, Urban Fare, Choices and Nesters, car dealerships, autobody shops, radio and TV stations, and packaging companies Genpak and Montebello.

The purchase requires approval from the Competition Bureau, but that’s expected before the end of the year.

“I received a courtesy call from SunRype president Lesli Bradley just before the announcement was made public,” said Kimm Davis, business representative for Teamsters Local 213, which represents SunRype’s 200 unionized employees.

In total, SunRype has 400 workers at its Kelowna production facility and head office on Ethel Street.

“Of course, our main concern is keeping the work and the union in Kelowna,” said Davis.

“We were told Lassonde’s vision is to keep SunRype in Kelowna and grow it here. In that case, we look forward to working with Lassonde and continue working with SunRype, which is such a trusted brand.”

For Lassonde, the addition of SunRype means expanding its reach into Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

SunRype tends to be the dominant fruit juice brand in Western Canada, while Lassonde’s Allen’s, Rougemont, Fairlee, Everfresh, Del Monte and Oasis brands are strong in Central Canada and the Maritimes.

“This transaction is part of our strategy of constant and measured growth and will strengthen our presence in the Canadian and U.S. markets,” said Lassonde CEO Nathalie Lassonde.

“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we look forward to welcoming SunRype’s management team and employees to Lassonde.”

SunRype has annual sales of around $164 million and net income of about $9 million.

“SunRype is in good lands with Lassonde,” said Jim Pattison Group chairman Jim Pattison.

“Lassonde has been a key supplier to several of our companies, including Save-On-Foods and Buy-Low Foods, for decades and will continue to be.”

Lassonde started in 1918 as a family-owned company and remains so today.

“SunRype is a recognized and respected brand in the market, and Lassonde intends to keep it alive for a very long time,” said president Jean Gattuso.

“By joining forces, Lassonde and SunRype will be well positioned to become a leading fruit-based snack and beverage company in Canada and the U.S.”

SunRype started in 1946 as a co-operative for Okanagan orchardists to turn their process-grade apples into juice and snacks.

In 1996, it became a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In 2013, it became a privately owned company when Jim Pattison Group purchased it.