Maple Leaf Foods to Close Poultry Processing Plant in Canard, Nova Scotia
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, January 16, 2007 – Maple Leaf Foods (MFI: TSX) today announced that it will close its fresh poultry processing facility in Canard, Nova Scotia at the end of April 2007.
"The viability of the Canard plant has been challenged by its age and insufficient volume to justify the major investment required to improve the cost structure and make it profitable," said Bruce McCullagh, Senior Vice President Poultry Operations. "We deeply regret the impact this will have on our employees and we will be providing financial and outplacement support to ease their transition. They have made a major contribution to this plant despite the challenges, and I would like to recognize their skills and thank them for their ongoing support. Atlantic Canada remains a very important market for our premium quality poultry products, and we will continue to meet customer and consumer needs from our other facilities."
The Canard facility, which is over 50 years old, produces fresh poultry products, including branded and private label branded chicken, primarily for customers in Atlantic Canada. The closure will affect approximately 380 employees. Supporting their transition to other employment is a priority for Maple Leaf Foods, including other potential jobs within the Company.
Consumers and customers will continue to be supplied with high quality, competitively priced chicken products from Maple Leaf. Products produced at the Canard plant will be transitioned to other Maple Leaf facilities by the end of April to ensure ongoing supply to customers. Nova Scotia remains a very important market and operating base for Maple Leaf Foods, where the Company employs another 900 employees in its meat and bakery operations.
The Company expects that closure costs, including severance, decommissioning and asset write-downs, will result in a restructuring charge of approximately $8.5 million before tax, of which approximately $3 million will be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the remainder when the facility is decommissioned in 2007.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company committed to delivering quality food products to consumers around the world. Headquartered in Toronto, the Company employs approximately 24,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Company had sales of $6.1 billion in 2005.
SOURCE: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.