Nearly-shuttered Maple Leaf plants still running for now

(Dave Bedard photo)

Two Maple Leaf Foods processing plants tapped in 2011 to close by the end of this year will stay open for a few months yet.

Of six further-processing facilities slated for closure by the end of 2014 in the final phase of Maple Leaf’s “value creation plan,” the company’s Courtland Avenue deli and luncheon meat and wiener plant in Kitchener and its Bartor Road sliced meats plant in Toronto are now to close by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Production has “significantly ramped down” at both plants, the company said Dec. 22, but noted “some” capacity will be maintained to meet Maple Leaf’s “commercial requirements.”

Another processing plant, the Hot Rods plant on Panet Road in Winnipeg, is still to close as scheduled on Dec. 31, Maple Leaf said.

Maple Leaf in 2011 said it would consolidate all its processed meats operations at four sites by way of major expansions at plants in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Brampton and construction of a new plant at Hamilton.

The new and upgraded plants, Maple Leaf said at the time, are to be “highly efficient, category-focused ‘centres of excellence.'”

“Element of uncertainty”

The expanded Winnipeg plant, on Lagimodiere Boulevard, is “fully commissioned with only minor optimization remaining,” Maple Leaf said Dec. 22.

The expanded McLeod plant in Saskatoon, meanwhile, is “in the final stages of transition (but) not yet operating to expectations.”

Toronto-based Maple Leaf said the Saskatoon plant’s performance is improving, however, and “variances are not material to achieving the company’s overall strategic targets.”

The expanded Walker Drive plant in Brampton is also “fully commissioned with only minor optimization remaining” and wiener production at the new Hamilton plant is “nearly fully commissioned.”

Commissioning of the final sliced meats and deli operations at Hamilton is “well underway” and expected to achieve full production by the end of the first quarter of 2015, Maple Leaf said.

“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,” Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain said in the company’s Dec. 22 release.

“We have dramatically increased scale and technology, consolidated production into fewer, highly efficient plants and streamlined our product mix,” he said, and the company now has “a clear path to realizing our financial targets.” — Network


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