Maple Leaf Foods, the Canadian food group, has put on hold plans to sell a pork processing plant in Ontario.

The company today (2 April) blamed the downturn and turmoil in the credit markets for forcing it to put plans for the sale, first announced in July, on ice.

“The current economic conditions and credit markets have created a less than ideal environment to sell any business,” said CFO Michael Vels.

He added that there was “no immediate urgency” to sell the business, which is based in Burlington.

“It is an efficient and profitable business and we want to ensure we negotiate an offer that recognizes the appropriate value for the business and meets the expectations of our shareholders,” Vels said.

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The company planned to sell the site as part of moves to focus on “value-added” meat, meals and bakery.