Maple Leaf to close another meat plant as cull continues

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pork Meat Livestock

Maple Leaf has unveiled plans to shut a processed meats facility in Canada as part of an ongoing efficiency drive – the third disposal announced in the last four months.

The company said its prepared meats plant in British Columbia, will close on 30 September with the loss of 155 jobs. The site produces a variety of products, including ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products in Western Canada.

Production at the Surrey site will begin winding down in May - with output being gradually transferred to other plants with available capacity in Saskatoon, Manitoba and Ontario.

Closure costs, including severance, decommissioning and asset write-downs, will amount to about C$12.1 million before tax, said the company.

"The closure of the Surrey plant is an important step towards consolidating our manufacturing at fewer, dedicated scale plants, resulting in reduced supply chain costs and better efficiencies,"​ said Rick Young, executive vice president, Consumer Foods.

Other closures

The Surrey closure follows closely in the wake of Maple Leaf plans to shutter its 200,000 square foot prepared meats facility in Berwick, Nova Scotia, with the loss of 280 jobs at the end of April 2011. Berwick produces bacon, ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products primarily under the Larsen and private label brands. The closure is expected to cost the firm C$17m.

"Our industry is under mounting competitive pressure to become more efficient, and this means we have to make very difficult decisions,"​ said company president and CEO Michael McCain at the time.

The company also sold its pork processing operation, in Burlington, Ontario, for C$20m last November - cutting its annual pork processing from over 7 million hogs in 2006 to approximately 4.3 million hogs.

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