Canada Bread to shut Quebec frozen-goods bakery

Maple Leaf Foods’ Canada Bread subsidiary plans to shut its Montreal-area frozen baked goods facility by the end of March.

The company’s decision, which affects 55 staff at the Laval frozen bakery site, “will allow us to improve the cost structure and competitiveness of our business,” frozen bakery division president Real Menard said in a release Wednesday.

The Laval site’s production, which included foods such as crusty and specialty breads and rolls, will be consolidated at Canada Bread’s other frozen bakery facilities “where there is available capacity.”

A regional sales office will also remain in Laval, the company said.

The company, 90 per cent of which is owned by Maple Leaf, described the Laval site’s land and building as “an excellent asset” and said it “recognizes its strategic value longer-term.”

Canada Bread said Wednesday it has “no immediate plans” for the plant but will keep the facility and “consider it for other potential new business and development opportunities in the future.”

Affected employees are expected to get severance that will “exceed provincial labour requirements,” and will also get first consideration for other jobs at Canada Bread’s fresh bakery facilities in the province.

The company employs over 1,000 people in Quebec and noted 60 jobs will soon need to be filled for its summer production period.

Total closure costs, such as severance, decommissioning and asset write-downs, are expected to be no more than $5.8 million before tax. Of that, about $5 million is to be booked in the company’s fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010.

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