Quebec veal processor to shut Lanaudiere-area plant

Family-owned veal packer Montpak International plans to shut one of its processing plants in Quebec’s Lanaudiere region and consolidate its further-processing at Montreal.

The Laval-based company on Friday said it will shut its veal and lamb processing plant at Sainte-Angele-de-Premont, about 45 km west of Trois-Rivieres, by Nov. 11.

Layoffs for some of the plant’s 65 staff took effect Friday, the company said, while some of the remaining employees will remain on the job until the closing date.

Company president Harvey Buksbaum said in a release that the decision to close the Saint-Angele plant was "extremely difficult to make, because it touches the lives of the people who have contributed to the success of the business."

However, he said, "market conditions" for veal and lamb have forced the company’s hand.

The supply of veal animals has been dropping in Canada for several years, the company said, and its situation has been made worse by a dragging economic recovery in several of Montpak’s target markets, most notably the U.S.

Montpak, which has operated since 1959 and is owned by the Buksbaum and Fontaine families, had leased the space at Sainte-Angele since 2006 from another veal processor, Bellivo Transformation, as part of a partnership deal that year between the two companies.

Bellivo plans to work with local officials to try and find a new tenant for the Sainte-Angele plant and return the plant to operation "as rapidly as possible," Montpak said in its release.

Montpak also operates a HACCP-accredited veal slaughter plant at St-Germain-de-Grantham, about 70 km south of Trois-Rivieres, billed as one of the largest federally inspected veal plants of its kind in North America.

The company in July picked up $3.32 million in repayable federal funding from the Slaughter Improvement Program (SIP) toward the purchase and installation of equipment for the Montreal processing plant.

Related story:

Montpak ferme une usine, Oct. 14, 2011

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