Maple Leaf Foods closes largest legacy plant in Kitchener
By Canadian Packaging staffGeneral Maple Leaf Foods
End of an era, but part of a seven-year plan moving forward.
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 27, 2015 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) —Maple Leaf Foods today announced that it has closed its Courtland Ave. production facility in Kitchener, Ontario, the largest plant in its legacy network.
The decision to close the facility was announced in October 2011 as part of the Company’s plan to significantly increase competitiveness and efficiency throughout its prepared meats network.
“While today marks the end of one era, it is a critical milestone in establishing Maple Leaf as a sustainably competitive and profitable Canadian food company,” says Maple Leaf Foods president and chief executive officer Michael H. McCain. “We are well along with transitioning production to our new, state-of-the-art facility in Hamilton and realizing the benefits of our modernized network. I want to personally thank all of our employees in Kitchener who displayed tremendous pride and dedication through a difficult and emotional transition. The Schnieders brand will always be an integral part of our company and history.”
The Courtland Ave. facility was originally constructed in 1924 and owned by Schneider Foods. Production was transferred throughout Maple Leaf’s network, primarily to a new, state-of-the-art 400,000 square foot prepared meats plant in Hamilton, Ontario. The workforce in Kitchener was gradually transitioned, with the majority of employees securing new jobs either at Maple Leaf or in the region, or taking advantage of training opportunities through the Schneiders Employee Association Action Centre.
This is the seventh of eight legacy plant closures planned as part of Maple Leaf’s modernization plan. In the past four years, the Company has built its new production plant in Hamilton, invested in new technology and expansions at existing facilities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Brampton, and built a new 282,000 square foot distribution center in southwestern Ontario. The Company simultaneously simplified its product portfolio to realize scale efficiencies and moved from multiple operating systems to one integrated platform. Closure of the Courtland Ave. facility is expected to be accretive to results commencing in the second quarter.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian consumer protein company, making high quality, innovative products under national brands including Maple Leaf, Maple Leaf Prime, Maple Leaf Natural Selections, Schneiders, Schneiders Country Naturals and Mina. The Company employs approximately 12,000 people across Canada and exports to global markets, including the U.S. and Asia. The Company is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario and its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MFI).