Bumble Bee affiliate Connors Bros files for bankruptcy in Canada

Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada-based Connors Bros. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada as part of a larger bankruptcy filing by its parent company, San Diego, California, U.S.A.-based Bumble Bee Foods.

Connors Bros. has commenced court-supervised restructuring proceedings under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, as has fellow Bumble Bee affiliate Cloverleaf Holdings Company, according to the CBC. The companies operate the Bumble Bee, Clover Leaf, and Brunswick brands in Canada.

Connors Bros. operates a fish processing plant in Black Harbour that employees between 400 and 800 people, depending on the season. The plant packs a variety of products, including tinned herring and sardines.

Statements from Bumble Bee Foods President and CEO Jan Tharp, as well as from Clover Leaf’s insolvency trustees Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc., suggested the company did not expect to make any major changes as a result of the move.

"It is the monitor's understanding that Clover Leaf intends to pay pre-filing amounts to suppliers and employees in the ordinary course,” the trustees’ statement said.

Tharp said in a statement that while Bumble Bee is going through a “challenging time,” the filing will allow it to continue with “business as usual.”

"Employees will get paid, our customer partners can count on us to continue delivering outstanding brands and services, and vendors will be paid in the ordinary course of business," Tharp said.

Grand Manan Fishermen's Association Project Manager, which has a number of members that catch herring used in Connors Bros. products, told the CBC the company has assured association members there would be no interruption in operations.

"Everybody is just going along as normal," Sonnenberg said. "The message that's been coming out of the company from the head office is that it's business as usual. And we've heard that consistently from the Blacks Harbour plant."

Blacks Harbour Mayor Teresa James told the CBC she is not “overly concerned” about the filing.

“I’ve been mayor for 16 years and I think the company has changed ownership three or four times,” she said. “History has indicated that operations do continue.”

Photo courtesy of Bumble Bee Foods


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