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Canadian family business leaders launch private equity firm

Members of two of Canada’s largest family businesses, Maple Leaf Foods and Empire Company Limited, have joined forces to start a private equity firm aimed at investing in mid-sized companies.
Canadian family business leaders launch private equity firm

Members of two of Canada’s largest family businesses, Maple Leaf Foods and Empire Company Limited, have joined forces to start a private equity firm aimed at investing in mid-sized companies.

SeaFort Capital, launched on 26 March, will focus on businesses with profits between $2 million (€1.49 million) and $10 million, said a statement from the private equity firm.

Its board members include Scott McCain, president and chief operating officer at food processor Maple Leaf Foods, and Donald and Robert Sobey of Empire, the holding company behind the family’s grocery chain.

“I see SeaFort as a multi-generational opportunity to build great companies and invest in strong entrepreneurs here and across Canada,” said Robert in the statement.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based firm will also focus on family companies, according to a report in CTV News. Citing an interview with Rob Normandeau, president of SeaFort, the report said equity will be used to invest in family-run groups in small Canadian cities that are often “overlooked by larger private equity companies”.

The statement did not reveal the amount of capital SeaFort is planning to invest.

About 80% of all companies in Canada are family-owned, accounting for 45% of the country’s GDP, according to the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise.

The Sobey family’s holding company Empire was one of CampdenFB’s top 100 family businesses in North America last year, thanks to revenues of $15.51 billion in 2010.

Maple Leaf Foods, acquired by the late Wallace McCain in 1995, had sales of $5.17 billion in 2010. The McCain family holds about 31% of the voting rights of the company.

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