Canadian Manufacturing

Maple Leaf Foods’ Winnipeg plant to close New Year’s Eve

Winnipeg facility marks company's fifth plant to close its doors in four years as Maple Leaf Foods continues with "network transition"



MISSISSAUGA, Ont.—Another Maple Leaf Foods Inc. plant is slated to close by the end of the month, the sixth of eight plant closures scheduled as part of the company’s efforts to streamline operations.

One of the company’s plants in Winnipeg is slated to close Dec. 31, the fifth plant to close its doors in four years, as Maple Leaf continues with its “network transition,” a plan to simplify its portfolio and optimize its operations.

“Maple Leaf Foods is in the final stage of completing a complex strategy to step-change profitability in our business,” president and CEO Michael McCain said in a statement.

“While there is always some element of uncertainty of timing given the unpredictable nature of start-ups, we are clear on the benefits and see a much brighter picture for 2015. We have dramatically increased scale and technology, consolidated production into fewer, highly efficient plants and streamlined our product mix.”

The company said it expects to close two other plants, in Toronto and Kitchener, Ont., by the end of the first quarter of 2015, marking the last of the facilities to be shuttered, including a handful of distribution centres.

Distribution operations have been trimmed from 17 locations to two.

While one plant in Winnipeg is slated to close, another is undergoing a massive expansion that is almost complete.

Maple Leaf said its Lagimodiere plant is fully commissioned and only has “minor optimization” left, while its McLeod plant in Saskatoon, Sask., is also in the final stages of optimization.

Its facility in Brampton, Ont., is also into the final stages of optimization, while the company’s new wiener production plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

In April, the federal government announced a $5-million loan to Maple Leaf to help the company install an automated meat processing line.

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