09/02/2016 08:45 EDT | Updated 09/03/2017 01:12 EDT

Cara beefs up restaurant presence in Quebec as St-Hubert chicken deal closes

VAUGHAN, Ont. — The St-Hubert restaurant and food-manufacturing business is now part of the Cara group, which sees the $537-million acquisition as a strategic move that dramatically increases its presence in Quebec.

Founded in 1951 by the Leger family, St-Hubert is well-known in Quebec for its rotisserie chicken and its trademark symbol — a smiling red-plumed rooster on a bright yellow background.

It's also considered an innovator in Quebec's restaurant and food-manufacturing sector, as an early adopter of home-delivery as well as a producer of food products from its own manufacturing and distribution centres.

Cara Operations Ltd. (TSX:CAO) of Vaughan, Ont., says the "historic alliance" will provide St-Hubert with opportunities to grow within its home province and other parts of Canada.

The Toronto-area company will improve its market penetration in Quebec to one restaurant per 49,000 people, from one per 140,000 prior to the St-Hubert acquisition.

In Cara's home province, it has about one restaurant per 21,000 people under a wide range of banners that includes the Swiss Chalet rotisserie chicken business, Harvey's hamburgers and several casual-dining chains.