Saputo, the Canada-based dairy giant, is to close a cheese manufacturing plant in the US state of Vermont.

Last month, a fire damaged the facility, located in Hinesburg, and since then, production has moved to Saputo's other facilities in the US.

Some 80 jobs are under threat although Saputo said a number of employees would be offered jobs at other plants in the US.

Saputo said the closure would cost the company US$5.4m. The charge will be recorded in the third quarter of Saputo's 2009 fiscal year.

The company added, however, that the move should lead to annual cost savings of around US$2.2m from the beginning of its 2010 fiscal year.