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Red ink rising again at Atlantic Beef: CBC

Following a public bailout, losses are increasing again at the Atlantic Beef Products plant on Prince Edward Island, CBC reported Thursday.

The plant had managed to cut monthly losses from $500,000 in early 2007 to about half that amount by late summer. However, CBC reports, the plant, which has been without a manager since December, lost $550,000 in April and has lost $3.5 million since last June.

Opposition Tory MLA Jim Bagnall told CBC that the government must find a manager who’s capable of running the facility. Farmers, he said, are now waiting up to six weeks to get paid.

The facility has been without a manager since restructuring in December, when the P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments and the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) pooled their cash for a $12 million bailout.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair told CBC he’s meeting Thursday with the advisory group that’s running the plant. “I’m going to be asking for their future outlook for this, where they think it’s going to go, if it can be achieved and how long it’s going to take.”

Bagnall wondered aloud to CBC why the P.E.I. government is willing to support massive losses at the beef plant even after it put P.E.I.’s NOFG pork plant into receivership when it was losing far less money. The NOFG plant has since closed.

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