Olymel production facility expansion follows consolidation in Canadas pork sector.

Olymel production facility expansion follows consolidation in Canada's pork sector.

Canadian pork and poultry processor Olymel is to invest more than CAD25m (US$19.5m) to expand its hog slaughterhouse and butchering facility at St-Esprit in the Lanaudiere region of central Quebec.

The project will add 35,000 sq ft of space, bringing the size of the facility to more than 215,000 sq ft. It will also include the construction of a refrigeration room and the reorganisation of production tables to boost production volume of value-added products. The improvements will increase the facility's slaughtering capacity from 30,000 to 40 000 hogs weekly, Olymel said.

The St-Esprit site produces various cuts of pork, seasoned pork products and vacuum-packed products for the domestic market and exports – in particular to China. Once the expansion is complete the plant will also be equipped to produce chilled pork.

Olymel president and CEO Rejean Nadeau said the project represented "a major investment in the hog slaughtering and butchering sectors, and will benefit the entire pork industry in Quebec". Nadeau said the expanded facility will "significantly enhance our product offering, in addition to creating new jobs (and) will also enable us to better meet the demands of our customers across Canada, as well as worldwide".

The company said the investment at St-Esprit was one of a series of moves made in recent months to "strengthen its supplies and production capacity".

In February, Olymel entered into a business partnership with Canadian hog slaughtering and butchering firm Atrahan Transformation. The two firms started integrating their operations earlier this year. Olymel has also concluded an agreement in principle for the creation of a partnership in Lucyporc, another Canadian-based hog slaughtering and butchering company, owned by Groupe Robitaille.

Earlier this month, Olymel said it was acquiring all the assets of Quebec sausage company La Fernandiere for an undisclosed sum.

Meanwhile, Olymel yesterday announced it had reached agreement with union leaders to extend a collective agreement with its existing 810 employees at St-Esprit for seven years, beyond the agreement's  expiry date of May 2018. The arrangement will allow the company to recruit for an additional 200 posts being created at the facility for work across two shifts.