Olymel gets home province’s backing for plant upgrades

Quebec to invest $150 million in packer

(PorcOlymel.com)

Pork and poultry producer and packer Olymel has picked up equity investments from its home province to support a total of $315 million in plant upgrades.

The Quebec government announced Tuesday it would invest $74 million in Olymel through its economy and innovation ministry’s Fonds pour la croissance des entreprises quebecois (FCEQ) plus $76 million from provincial investment agency Investissement Quebec.

Olymel “aims to improve the efficiency of its processes and operational equipment in all its processing plants,” the province said Tuesday. The company operates 28 plants in four provinces, mostly in Quebec.

The plant upgrades to be funded include renovations to accommodate a second shift at the company’s pork slaughter and cutting plant at Ange-Gardien, about 20 km west of Granby in Quebec’s Monteregie.

Those renovations, first announced in February, are expected to create more than 250 jobs at the facility when the new evening shift begins, expected by next September. The second shift is expected to boost the plant’s slaughter capacity to 35,000 hogs per week at first, and eventually 50,000.

Olymel, the meat packing arm of Sollio Co-operative Group, had said in February it would invest $9 million for the upgrades at Ange-Gardien, a plant it acquired when it took over pork processor F. Menard in early 2020.

The $315 million envelope announced Tuesday will also go toward retrofits at two of Olymel’s chicken slaughter plants to accommodate on-site pre-packing, and for upgrades of the company’s computer management systems, the province said.

The FCEQ’s investment will be the first for the new fund, which Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said “provides our government with another tool to fortify the position of (companies with) headquarters located in Quebec.”

The FCEQ, budgeted for up to $1 billion, is expected to support “businesses whose main activities are carried out in Quebec and that have either strong growth potential or a strategic value for Quebec’s economy.”

Olymel CEO Rejean Nadeau, in the same release, said the company “now holds an advantageous and enviable position in export markets as well as in Quebec and across Canada.”

The province’s investment, he said, “bolsters the efforts we have undertaken in recent years and supports concrete development projects to both sustain our competitiveness as well as continue to grow and improve the way we do business.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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