Sunnymel will create 250 jobs at its new plant and has made a new proposal to Nadeau Maple Lodge

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.

About Westco

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 
Communications     
(514) 497-1385      
(450) 771-0400     

Groupe Westco Inc. : 




Martin Daraiche
Vice President 
NATIONAL     
Public Relations                 
Tel.: (418) 648-1233, ext. 230
Cell.: (418) 571-8528

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WESTCO GROUP INC.

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SUNNYMEL

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