A letter of intent has been signed with a Canadian company to acquire Leamington’s Heinz facility

In a news release Thursday, Heinz stated they’ve signed a letter of intent with Highbury Canco Corporation, who will act as a co-packer for Heinz.

“The signing of this letter of intent is great news for Heinz and for Leamington, Ontario and is subject to the successful completion of the full transaction,” said Michael Mullen, Sr. VP of corporate & government affairs at Heinz.

Under the terms of the letter, Highbury will manufacture products for Heinz out of the Leamington facility. The company will also provide some distribution and logistics services to Heinz Canada.

It’s unclear what these products will be, but 250 people plus seasonal workers will be employed at the facility.

“We look forward to working closely with all our strategic partners including local farmers, the workforce, the local community and all levels of government to finalize the agreement with Heinz,” said Pradeep Sood, spokesperson for Highbury.

Heinz announced in November it would close the plant on June 27 of this year, putting close to 800 full-time employees out of work, along with hundreds of seasonal workers.

“Working with the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, I helped connect a representative of Canco to senior officials in the Ontario Government – where we played a leading role introducing these companies,” Windsor-West MPP Teresa Piruzza said in a statement.

Several variables are unknown, including the price tag of the acquisition, and when Highbury will officially take over the Leamington facility.

Leamington Mayor John Paterson is happy with the news. His community needed a lift and he believes this is what they were looking for.

“It tells you Heinz still wants to work here,” he says. “Our area wants this protection to go ahead.”

 However, Paterson remains cautious saying “a letter of intent is not a legal document and until this agreement is signed there isn't a guarantee.”

 “It's a rebirth to that facility with a new company, with the potential for long term growth,” says Robert Crawford, president of UCFW Local 459.

 Crawford says Canco is committed to respecting the rights of workers at the plant.