Maple Leaf Foods has started the formal process to sell its Ontario-based pork processing business.

The move is part of the Canada-based group's restructuring drive as it looks to combat low hog prices and rising feed costs.

Toronto-based Maple Leaf said today (22 June) that it will put the plant, located in Burlington, Ontario, up for sale immediately. The food producer added that it expects the sale to close by the end of this year.

According to Michael Vels, CFO, the unit "operates one of the more efficient pork processing plants in North America, strategically located close to high density markets".

Vels added: "Our investments in the plant and our people have resulted in a profitable business that represents an excellent investment in the global pork processing industry."

The facility has a production capacity of 50,000 hogs a week and is licensed to export its products to about 50 countries.