TORONTO (AP) -- Maple Leaf Foods plans to close its Winnipeg fresh pork processing plant on Warman Road that employs about 650 people and expand its other nearby plants.
The company said late Tuesday the Warman Road closure by the end of September comes as Maple Leaf invests about $50 million to expand its pork processing plant in Brandon, Man. and another $25 million to expand its Lagimodiere Road plant in Winnipeg.
Maple Leaf said workers at the Warman Road plant ''will be encouraged to apply for new jobs at the Lagimodiere Road and Brandon facilities.''
The Brandon expansion will begin in June and will see production increased from 75,000 to 86,000 hogs a week by the end of 2009, as Maple Leaf consolidates all of its primary pork processing in Brandon.
The expansion at its Lagimodiere Road plant will mean the consolidation of its ham boning operations in Western Canada into one plant.
''By the end of 2009, Maple Leaf will create over 1,100 new jobs at these facilities, supported by an investment of over $120 million,'' the company announced after markets closed.
''These initiatives are critical milestones in implementing the company's new protein business model, including consolidating its primary pork processing at one scale facility, and producing high quality fresh pork products to support growth in its value-added meats and meals businesses.''
Toronto-based Maple Leaf employs about 23,000 people at operations in Canada, the U.S., the U.K and Asia. It makes processed meats, provides animal feed and controls Canada Bread, the country's largest baker.
Last fall, Maple Leaf closed it Marion Street pork processing operation in Winnipeg and moved the work to its Brandon plant. That operation employed 145 people and processed between 15,000 to 20,000 hogs per week.
It also closed its secondary processing plant in west-end Toronto around the same time in a broad move to become more efficient and cut operating costs.
Prior to the announcement Tuesday, Maple Leaf shares closed up 25 cents or two percent at $12.30.