Mondelez International has confirmed plans to close a biscuits and crackers manufacturing plant in Canada by the end of 2017.

The US-based group said the closure of the site in Montreal will affect 454 employees, who were informed of the decision yesterday (30 November).

The closure will be carried out in a “phased approach” and Mondelez said more than 95% of the production handled in Montreal will remain within the company’s Canadian manufacturing network, with the remainder going to the US.

The company said it will continue to operate five manufacturing facilities within Canada, two distribution centres and its Canadian head office, “including a strong national sales force”.

Olivier Bouret, vice-president for the group’s North America biscuits integrated supply chain, said the move was “a difficult but necessary decision, which has been made after careful review of our overall Canadian supply chain and opportunities to drive greater effectiveness and efficiency”.

“Our focus right now is on our employees in Montreal and we are doing everything we can to provide a smooth transition and support to those affected by this decision,” Bouret said.

“As part of our long-term growth strategy, we are committed to Canadian manufacturing and this decision will help strengthen our supply chain in Canada,” Bouret said. “We will continue to invest to improve productivity, achieve world-class standards and ensure our long-term sustainability for our consumers now and in the future.”

According to Mondelez, the Montreal closure is part of a global strategy “to create a best-in-class supply chain focused on increasing efficiency and driving growth for the business”.

In October, Mondelez stressed its objective to improve profit margins as the group posted another quarter of declining sales.

In August, Mondelez announced it had agreed terms to buy the licence to manufacture, market and sell Cadbury-branded biscuits around the world from UK-based Burton’s Biscuit Co.