Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Quebec firm buys Winnipeg's Westco

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A local, family-owned warehousing and distribution company that has been in business for more than half a century has been sold to a Quebec-based firm that was looking to expand into Western Canada.

Westco MultiTemp Distribution Centres Inc., which was founded in 1959 by entrepreneur William (Bill) Glesby, has been purchased by Quebec City-based Congebec Logistics Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Westco was headquartered in Winnipeg and had four temperature-controlled warehouses -- two in Manitoba and one each in Saskatoon and Calgary.

Congebec founder and president Laurier Pedneault said in an interview Friday that Congebec has retained all of Westco's approximately 200 employees, including about 135 in Manitoba. He said the company will also keep the Westco name, operating as a division of Congebec.

"We believe that if the formula is good, don't change it just for the fun of it. We think it's a great company and we're very happy with it."

Westco specializes in the storage and refrigeration of food and food-related products. It also offers a complete line of logistics services, including multi-temperature transportation services and distribution and export services.

Pedneault said the Westco deal came about after Congebec was approached by an agent who had been hired by the Glesby family to find a buyer for the Winnipeg firm.

He said Congebec was Canada's third largest temperature-controlled warehousing and distribution company at the time, but its operations were confined to Ontario and Quebec. Acquiring Westco would not only give it an instant presence in Western Canada, but enable it to become "a truly national company."

The deal also enabled Westco to become part of a large, national operation, he added, so it was a good move for both companies.

A spokesperson for the Glesby family could not be reached Friday for comment.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2013 B9

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