TORONTO — Maple Leaf Foods has announced plans to invest $560 million to establish a world-class prepared meats network, while cutting 1,550 jobs in four provinces.
“The final phase of this plan will establish Maple Leaf Foods as a more streamlined and profitable company, well positioned to deliver significant and sustainable value to its shareholders,” said Michael McCain, president and CEO of the meat, meals and bakery company. “We are creating, through one of the largest single investments in the Canadian food industry, a highly efficient, world-class prepared meats production and distribution network that will markedly increase our competitiveness and close the cost gap with our U.S. peers.”
The investment includes the construction of a new $395-million, 402,000-square-foot prepared meats facility in Hamilton, which will be competitive with best-in-class facilities in North America. Maple Leaf will also invest in existing plants in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Brampton.
Although, Maple Leaf estimates the plan will generate 1,150 jobs, it will close plants in North Battleford, Kitchener, Hamilton, Toronto, Moncton and a small facility in Winnipeg by the end of 2014 as production is consolidated into new or expanded facilities, costing 1,550 jobs.
These changes, combined with other strategic value creation initiatives underway, are expected to significantly increase brand competitiveness and profitability.