New Poultry Slaughterhouse for New Brunswick

CANADA - Olymel and Westco are planning to build a poultry slaughterhouse in New Brunswick.
calendar icon 2 September 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Meat packers Olymel LP and Groupe Westco Inc. say they will go ahead with a long-delayed plan to build a poultry slaughtering plant in New Brunswick, according to Canadian Press.

The plan would allow Westco to integrate its breeding and slaughtering operations in New Brunswick, the company said on 1 September in a statement.

The partnership had been trying to negotiate an agreement with Nadeau Maple Lodge after that company complained it would lose slaughtering business when the other two joined forces.

That led to intervention by New Brunswick Agriculture Minister, Ronald Ouellette, who introduced a legislative amendment that would require all live chickens in the province to be processed in designated plants.

Mr Ouellette says the new slaughterhouse could drive the existing Nadeau plant out of business, and could see the chickens leaving the province for processing.

A competition tribunal ruled this summer that Westco has the right to sell its birds to the buyer of its choosing.

Olymel and Westco said on 1 September that further negotiations with Nadeau that would have enabled it to continue processing birds from Westco at its slaughterhouse have failed.

The partnership said it expects to get authorization soon to begin construction.

Olymel and Westco had offered to buy Nadeau Maple Lodge's slaughterhouse at St-Francois-de-Madawaska in Quebec but the offer was rejected. They also say they were rebuffed in attempts to form partnership agreements.

"Unfortunately, we have to conclude that Nadeau Maple Lodge does not wish to do business with Westco," Westco president and CEO, Thomas Soucy said in a statement.

"The Olymel-Westco partnership must thus accept the Ontario group's obstinate refusal, and as a result, Groupe Westco has no alternative but to build a new slaughterhouse in northern New Brunswick if it wishes to complete its egg-to-plate integration and preserve hundreds of jobs in the poultry industry in partnership with Olymel."

Westco and Olymel told Canadian Press said they plan to transfer Westco's poultry production to Olymel slaughterhouses in Quebec, returning it to the New Brunswick plant when complete.

Westco, based in Saint-Francois-de-Madawaska, owns hatcheries, breeding farms and shipping companies, and accounts for a large share of chicken and turkey production in New Brunswick. The company also has operations in Manitoba.

Olymel is a leader in the slaughtering, processing and distribution of pork and poultry in Canada, with operations in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta and 10,000 employees. The company exports nearly half its production, mainly to the Unites States, Japan and Australia, and had sales of nearly $2.5 billion a year.

Nadeau, New Brunswick's only chicken processing plant, is owned by Maple Lodge Farms.

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