Saputo to shutter two Canadian facilities

by Eric Schroeder
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TORONTO — Continuing its strategy of implementing measures aimed at improving operational efficiencies, Saputo Inc. on Wednesday said it will close two plants later this spring, with production shifting to other Saputo Canadian facilities.

Saputo said it will shutter a cheese manufacturing plant in Vancouver, B.C., on March 31, and a cutting and wrapping facility in Boucherville, Quebec, on June 2. In total, 144 employees will be affected by the closings.

In relation to these rationalizations, the company intends to invest approximately $10 million in new fixed assets, mainly in automation, in other facilities of its Canadian Division during the next fiscal year. Costs connected with the closings will be approximately $1.5 million, after tax. During fiscal year 2008, the Company expects after-tax savings of about $3 million. For subsequent fiscal years, the annual after-tax savings should be about $4.8 million, Saputo said.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after Saputo entered an agreement to acquire the assets of Land O’Lakes Cheese & Protein International operations, located in Tulare, Calif. As part of that transaction, Saputo would acquire all of C.P.I.’s cheese manufacturing operations and cut-and-wrap operations, formally known as Golden Valley Dairy Products.

Last year, Saputo closed cheese manufacturing plants in Peru, Ind., and Harrowsmith, Ont., as well as a cheese and byproduct manufacturing plant in Whitehall, Pa.



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