Saputo Inc, the largest dairy processor in Canada, announced yesterday [Thursday] that two of its Canadian cheese manufacturing plants, those located in Saint- Francois- Xavier de Brompton, Quebec, and in Bashaw, Alberta, will be closed.

The closures are part of the integration process initiated following the acquisition of Dairyworld in February 2001, which aims to improve the company’s operational efficiency.

Production activities at the plant in Saint-Francois-Xavier de Brompton will cease on 1 March. Production will be transferred to two other Saputo plants in St-Boniface, Quebec, and in Trenton, Ontario.

The Bashaw plant, whose principal activity is the production of processed cheese intended for the retail and foodservice market segments, will wind up its activities no later than 31 March. This plant will see its activities relocated to the Calgary plant, which contains among other things a cheese cutting operation and distribution centre for all of western Canada.

Some of the company’s employees, of which there are 13 in the Saint-Francois-Xavier de Brompton plant and 88 in the Bashaw plant, will be offered the possibility of transferring to other Saputo plants.

After these closings, the Cheese division (Canada) will include 20 plants and employ 2,100 individuals across the country.