Maple Leaf shutters wiener facility, shifts production within Hamilton

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TORONTO – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX:MFI) has closed its wiener production plant in Hamilton as part of a broader plan to move the operations to a bigger plant in the same city.

The meat products maker said Friday that about 26 employees would lose their jobs, while the remaining 187 staff are being moved to the company’s single-largest production facility, also in Hamilton.

The changes come as Maple Leaf continues a seven-year restructuring plan to improve the profits of the overall business, which is primarily focused on meat products.

It plans to close four other meat plants by the end of the year.

The company says once the plans are finished, it will operate 13 meat plants instead of 22, and two distribution centres instead of 19.

“We are in the final phase of completing a transformation of our prepared meats network,” said president and CEO Michael McCain.

“This year, the focus is on shifting production to these new facilities, closing legacy plants and realizing related cost and productivity gains.”

Other changes have been made in recent years, including the closure of two Maple Leaf bakeries in the Greater Toronto Area, with the operations also being consolidated in Hamilton.

In February, the company agreed to sell its 90 per cent stake in Canada Bread to Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican company that is offering about $1.83 billion to buy out Maple Leaf and minority shareholders.

Maple Leaf also sold its Rothsay rendering business, which had operations in several provinces, to Texas-based Darling International, and found buyers in Ontario for its commercial turkey farms, hatchery operation and breeding farms.

The company has about 18,000 employees across North America, the United Kingdom, and Asia. Maple Leaf sells products under its banner name, well as popular brands like Dempsters, Villaggio and Tenderflake.

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