In an effort to improve its “operational efficiency,” Saputo Inc. (TSE:SAP) announced plans to close its cheese manufacturing facility in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The closure will result in 126 layoffs. The closure is scheduled for May 2018.
The Montreal, Canada-based dairy company said it is integrating the current production into its new blue cheese facility located in Almena, Wisconsin. The impacted employees will be provided with severance and some will be offered the chance to transfer to other Saputo locations. The new Almena facility is a four-hour drive from Fond du Lac.
Canada’s largest cheese manufacturer says costs connected with the closure will be approximately CDN$22.0 million (US$17.3 million) after taxes. The Fond du Lac closure is expected to save the company CDN$7.0 million (US$5.5 million) annually.
According to the company’s press release, “over recent years, Saputo has maintained efforts to pursue additional efficiencies and decrease costs while strengthening its market presence. This decision is part of the company’s continual analysis of its overall activities.”
Saputo Inc. has been using the same kind of market strengthening tactics in Wisconsin over the years.
In 2009, Saputo shuttered a facility in Fond du Lac, eliminating 39 positions. At the time, the company cited efficiency reasons for the closing and layoffs. In 2014, Saputo closed a facility in New London; the company said it was an older plant that could not easily be upgraded.
Saputo Inc. many be announcing additional layoffs in Wisconsin. On November 1, the company announced plans to acquire Betin, Inc. The company manufactures goat cheese in the U.S., mainly under the “Montchevre” brand.
All of its business activities are conducted at its one manufacturing facility in Belmont, Wisconsin. Betin currently employs approximately 320 people. The transaction is expected to closed by the end of 2017.
“Saputo Inc. Announces A Plant Closure in the United States,” Saputo Inc., November 9, 2017.
“Saputo Announces Plant Closures In Canada And The United States,” Saputo Inc., March 26, 2014.
“Saputo To Broaden Its Presence In Specialty Cheese By Acquiring Montchevre In The United States,” Saputo Inc., November 1, 2017.