Canadian food giant Maple Leaf Foods is to close its prepared meats facility in Nova Scotia.

The announcement comes only a month after Maple Leaf set out a five-year plan to make the processed meats and bakery firm a leaner business.

Maple Leaf said in October that it was aiming for a “substantial” increase in earnings over the next five years from a series of company-wide initiatives. It said it expects to be able to boost its EBITDA margin from 7% to 12.5% in 2015.

However, in an announcement yesterday (17 November), Maple Leaf said it will “gradually wind-down” operations at the Berwick, Nova Scotia plant from February. The plant will close at the end of April.

“Our industry is under mounting competitive pressure to become more efficient, and this means we have to make very difficult decisions,” said president and CEO Michael McCain. “While this is the business reality, it is hard to make the necessary changes, particularly in a community where we have such an important presence.”

The company expects closure costs, including severance, decommissioning and asset writedowns to total C$17m (US$16.7m) before tax.

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The 200,000 sq ft plant, which employs 280 people, produces bacon, ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products, primarily under the Larsen and private label brands.

The firm said it will continue to produce products under the Larsen brand and meet its ongoing customer requirements to supply the Atlantic Canada market.