* Canadian hog industry hit by rising cost of feed
* Both firms being purchased are in financial trouble
OTTAWA Dec 17 Canada's Competition Bureau has
approved two mergers in the domestic hog industry, where
producers are struggling to cope with heavy losses caused by
higher feed prices.
The bureau said on Monday it would let Maple Leaf Foods Inc
buy hog producer Puratone Corp for C$42 million ($43
million) as well as allow Olymel LP to buy Blue Sky, Canada's
second-largest hog producer, out of receivership for C$65.25
"In both investigations, the bureau concluded that the
mergers were unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening or
prevention of competition," it said in a statement.
Soaring grain costs caused by a severe U.S. drought mean
North American hog farmers are losing as much as C$50 for every
pig they raise, forcing some to exit the industry. Packers are
concerned about finding enough pigs to slaughter.
Canada is the world's third-largest pork exporter.
Puratone, which is based in the western Canadian province of
Manitoba, raises 500,000 hogs annually. It entered court
protection from creditors in September.
Big Sky, which produces about 1 million pigs per year and is
based near Humboldt, Saskatchewan, entered receivership in early