Following a work reduction in early July, Quebec pork and poultry processor Olymel has now announced the permanent closure of its St. Hyacinthe plant. The facility will be shuttered February 10, 2023.
The plant employs just over 100 people, all of whom will be given the option of jobs at other facilities in the region.
The aging plant was a lard processor, however Olymel’s management team has decided to end this activity. In the future, the raw materials used to make lard will be sold to an external company.
According to the company, this announcement follows a reorganizing of Olymel’s workforce in the fresh pork sector, as well as a reduction in the volume of products requiring packaging.
“The primary processing facilities (slaughtering and cutting) are now able to cover the packaging operations previously handled in part by the St. Hyacinthe plant. The products previously stored at the St-Jacques street plant will be transferred to other internal or external distribution centres,” the company says.
“This decision ties in with the restructuring of the fresh pork sector and stems from a months-long analysis that concluded today. Closing the St. Hyacinthe plant is part of the difficult, albeit necessary and responsible, measures to ensure that the fresh pork sector gets back on the road to profitability after two years of difficulties caused by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the labour shortage, market uncertainties and various other factors underlying the unfavourable economic situation,” says Yanick Gervais, president and CEO of Olymel.
Olymel also laid off 57 managers and eliminated another 120 administrative positions last month, due to “the market context and growth challenges the company is facing.”
Olymel, which is 84% owned by Sollio Cooperative Group, posted a $60.2 million loss before patronage refunds and income taxes in 2021, compared with earnings of $215.4 million in 2020. The company’s 2022 year-end financials have not been published.