The Olymel executive team has announced an investment of more than $25 million to expand its hog slaughterhouse and butchering facility at St-Esprit in the Lanaudière region. Once completed, this expansion project is expected to create up to 200 new jobs, which will be added to the current staff of 810 employees working at the facility. This major construction project, which will add 35,000 sq. ft. (3250 m2) of space, bringing the total area of the facility to more than 215,000 sq. ft. (20,000 m2), includes the construction of a refrigeration room and reorganization of production tables in order to increase the production volume of value added products. These improvements will also increase the facility's slaughtering capacity from 30,000 to 40 000 hogs weekly.
"This development project at our St-Esprit facility represents a major investment in the hog slaughtering and butchering sectors, and will benefit the entire pork industry in Quebec. Once completed, it will increase our production capabilities significantly and enhance our product offering, in addition to creating new jobs. It will also enable us to better meet the demands of our customers across Canada, as well as worldwide," noted Olymel President and CEO Réjean Nadeau.
In conjunction with this project, at the conclusion of a series of negotiations, the employees, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union Local 1991-P, have agreed to extend the collective agreement now in force for an additional 7 years beyond its expiry date on May 31, 2018. This new agreement allows us to carry through with the development project, maintain existing jobs, and also create new ones.
The Olymel hog slaughtering, butchering and deboning facility at St-Esprit in the Lanaudière region currently has 810 employees, who will be joined by more than 200 new positions spread over two shifts. The plant produces various cuts of pork, seasoned pork products and vacuum-packed products. Once the expansion completed, the plant will also be equipped to produce chilled pork (refrigerated fresh pork). The facility serves the domestic market, but its products are also exported to many countries, in particular, China.
Olymel's investment in the plant at St-Esprit is one of a series investments made recently, the aim of which is to strengthen its supplies and production capacity. In February 2015, Olymel entered into a business partnership with ATRAHAN Transformation Inc., a hog slaughtering and butchering firm in Yamachiche, through a partnership, which was approved by the Competition Bureau of Canada in February. This spring, Olymel and ATRAHAN began integrating their operations. Olymel also concluded an agreement in principle for the creation of a partnership in Lucyporc, another Yamachiche based hog slaughtering and butchering company owned by Groupe Robitaille. Lastly, on June 7, Olymel announced the acquisition of La Fernandière, a company in Trois-Rivières specializing in the manufacture of sausages, whose production volume is expected to triple thanks to an investment of over $1.5 million and the creation of 30 new jobs.