Idaho Pacific Eyes AgraWest

Published online: Nov 23, 1999
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Richard Nickel of Idaho Pacific of Minneapolis, MN, has signed an agreement with officials of AgraWest to purchase the $30 million flake plant on Prince Edward Island.

The plant, built in 1998, has been beset with problems including production delays, an explosion, and sluggish markets.

Nickel said he has wanted a place on the East Coast, closer to European markets. He is confident a deal can be struck soon, perhaps within a month. He owns other plants in Idaho and Wisconsin.

He assured AgraWest that the 60-70 jobs at the plant are secure. AgraWest officials say they are happy to get a foothold in the American market and be associated with plants that have contracts with lucrative food contracts.

Some have speculated that the recent buy out of Pillsbury by Basic American triggered the PEI plant buyout. This will give the market another large purchasing option.

The plant has the largest single flake line in the world. Four Canadian developers own the plant. It was partially built with $16 million in funds from the Canadian government. The deal is expected to be completed by Jan. 1.