Maple Leaf plans to cut 400 jobs

(Reuters) — Maple Leaf Foods Inc. plans to cut 400 management jobs, or about three percent of its workforce, saying it was ready to streamline operations after starting up Canada’s biggest meat plant.

The announcement came nearly a month after the meat packer pushed back its timeline for hitting a key profitability target.

Maple Leaf, one of Canada’s biggest pork processors, said Nov. 25 that most of the job cuts would be completed by the end of this year and the rest next year.

Nearly half of the positions are based in the Mississauga, Ont., head office, said spokesperson Dave Bauer. Sixty-four are based at the new Hamilton, Ont., meat plant, where analysts noted excess staff and supervisors during a recent tour, and the rest of the job cuts are scattered across Canada.

“After years of change and transformation, we’re now in a position to streamline the organization so we can operate as efficiently as possible,” Bauer said. He declined to disclose the savings or one-time costs involved with the cuts.

The company employs 12,000 people in Canada, the United States and Asia.

Maple Leaf had rolled out a program in 2010 to boost earnings by shutting some plants and modernizing others.

The company’s restructuring costs fell 76 percent in the third quarter as it nears completion of the program.

In October, Maple Leaf delayed into 2016 its target for increasing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization as a percentage of revenue to 10 percent.

The profitability measure amounted to 7.1 percent in the third quarter.


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