SAINT-FRANÇOIS-DE-MADAWASKA, QC, Sept. 14, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Faced
with a smear and disinformation campaign conducted by Nadeau Maple
Lodge, Sunnymel, a partnership formed by Westco and Olymel, has
reiterated its intention to go ahead with construction of its poultry
slaughtering and cutting facility, representing an investment of more
than $40 million that will create over 250 jobs. Sunnymel is offering
to lease the Nadeau Maple Lodge slaughterhouse and operate it from the
time it closes in June 2012 until the new Sunnymel slaughterhouse is
opened in Clair in November 2012 so as to preserve as many jobs as
possible. This proposal follows the announcement by Nadeau Maple Lodge
of its intention to cease operations in St-François-de-Madawaska and
concentrate them at its new plant in Nova Scotia. Sunnymel's
ultramodern facility in Clair will be able to slaughter more New
Brunswick birds and will be a major source of stable jobs.
'For many years, Westco has been actively involved in the local economy
and has created a large number of jobs in the production sector in New
Brunswick. The partnership with Olymel will generate significant
investments in the processing sector and will be an important source of
jobs and stability for workers in the Upper Madawaska. Our proposal to
lease the Nadeau Maple Lodge slaughterhouse until construction of our
plant is completed will allow our industry to continue operating and
preserve jobs,' said Westco President and CEO Thomas Soucy.
On several occasions since the summer of 2009, Westco has tried to reach
an agreement with Nadeau Maple Lodge to find a temporary solution until
its new slaughterhouse was built, but the Ontario company refused all
proposals that would have enabled it to continue to process Westco
chickens. These attempts included the purchase of the slaughterhouse, a
possible partnership agreement for joint operation, a draft agreement
for slaughtering at fair market value during construction of the new
slaughterhouse, or payment of a premium similar to what Nadeau offers
elsewhere. All these offers were rejected by Nadeau.
"Despite Nadeau's repeated refusals to come to an agreement with us, we
are taking one more step today to protect the workers. It is time to
put an end to the hostility, and take action and promote the growth of
our local economy by adopting measures to preserve jobs. This is what
Westco has sought to do from very beginning," Mr. Soucy added.
In recent months, Nadeau Maple Lodge made repeated efforts to block
Westco from building its new slaughterhouse, but without success. Yet a
judgment by the federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the
Competition Tribunal in Westco's favour, and Nadeau's complaint before
the Chicken Farmers of New Brunswick (CFNB) was also finally rejected.
This decision has also been confirmed by the New Brunswick Farm
Products Commission and the New Brunswick Court of Appeal. In
addition, an earlier order issued by the Minister of Agriculture of
the Graham Liberal government which designated the Nadeau facility as
the only chicken product processing plant in New Brunswick has been
invalidated by the courts.
Groupe Westco Inc. is a New Brunswick company with its head office in
Saint-François-de-Madawaska. The result of a common vision for
expansion by many poultry producers, the company has become a model of
success and profitability. Westco owns its own hatcheries, breeding
farms, and shipping companies, and is also one of the largest poultry
production organizations in Canada. The company has a strong commitment
to the community, sponsoring several social programs and contributing
to fund-raising initiatives in its region.
About Olymel l.p.
Olymel l.p. is a leader in the slaughtering, processing and distribution
of pork and poultry meat products in Canada, with facilities in Québec,
Ontario, and Alberta. The company employs some 10,000 persons and
exports nearly half its production, mainly to the United States, Japan
and Australia, as well as some sixty other countries. Its sales stood
at $2 billion this year, with a slaughtering and processing capacity of
160,000 hogs and 1.7 million birds every week. The company markets its
products mainly under the Olymel, Lafleur and Flamingo brands.
SOURCE WESTCO GROUP INC.
For further information:
| Olymel l.p.: |
| Richard Vigneault |
| Groupe Westco Inc. : |
| Martin Daraiche |
Tel.: (418) 648-1233, ext. 230
Cell.: (418) 571-8528