More changes coming for Maple Leaf Foods


Maple Leaf Foods announced Wednesday that it plans to close its 200,000-square-foot prepared meats facility in Berwick, Nova Scotia next year. The multi-purpose facility employs almost 300 people.

Among the products produced at Berwick are bacon, ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products. Operations will start to wind down in February 2011 and the facility will close at the end of April. Acknowledging the mounting competitive pressure to become more efficient, the company's president and CEO, Michael McCain, said in a statement that these decisions are difficult. He said "We are initiating discussions with all levels of government and we will work diligently with all parties to find potential alternate uses for the plant that leverage the skilled workforce and provide ongoing employment opportunities in the region."

As reported by CNW, production will be consolidated at Maple Leaf's prepared meats facilities in New Brunswick and Ontario where possible. Maple Leaf will still produce products under the Larsen brand and meet its ongoing customer requirements to supply the Atlantic Canada market.

Expected closure costs will amount to roughly $17 million before tax, the company predicts. Of that, $9 million is cash expenses.

In other Maple Leaf news, the company reported last week that it will sell its Ontario pork processing business for roughly $20 million to Sun Capital Partners.

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