Maple Leaf Foods will shed 1,550 jobs

Maple Leaf Foods will shed 1,550 jobs

Maple Leaf Foods is to cut over 1,500 jobs in Canada as part of plans to revamp its production and distribution network in the country.

The Canadian food manufacturer will spend C$560m money on infrastructure and technologies over three years, including the construction of a $395m prepared meats facility in Hamilton. Maple Leaf will also spend C$85m on an existing plant in Winnipeg and sites in Saskatoon and Brampton.

The company's plants in North Battleford, Kitchener, Hamilton, Toronto, Moncton and a small facility in Winnipeg will close by the end of 2014 as production is consolidated.

Maple Leaf will also streamline its distribution network by consolidating four distribution centres into two; a new, purpose-built facility in Ontario and an existing facility in Saskatoon. Distribution centres in Moncton, Burlington, Kitchener and Coquitlam will be closed by 2014.

The closures will result in a net reduction of approximately 1,550 positions, with the majority of the job losses taking place in 2014, according to the company.

The announcement is the latest development in Maple Leaf's "value creation plan", announced last year, which is seeing the company will simplify production, consolidate manufacturing and reduce its costs. Maple Leaf expects its plan will increase EBITDA margin by more than 75% over the next four to five years - from a current level of 7% to 9.5% in 2012, and 12.5% in 2015.

Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf, said: "While this initiative is fundamentally about growth, the closure of facilities will result in the loss of jobs.

"We regret the impact on our people and communities adversely affected by these decisions."

Shares in the company dropped 1.7% to C$10.40 at 12.15 BST. Maple Leaf is a value-added meat, meals and bakery company.