Canada-based Olymel announced plans to expand its primary poultry processing plant at St-Damase in the Montérégie. The $10 million investment is to install an air chilling room.

The St-Damase facility specializes in chicken slaughtering and butchering for the rotisserie and retail distribution sectors. The additional chicken air chilling system will retain the current water cooling process, and is expected to create 10 additional jobs.

"This major investment in our St-Damase plant reflects the dynamism of the poultry sector. Olymel will soon be announcing another major investment at its Brampton, Ontario, poultry further processing facility. Our company is equipping itself to better meet demand from its customers by boosting its production capacity, which also benefits the entire poultry sector in Quebec. In terms of volume, thanks to its network of facilities and its business partnerships, Olymel is now the No. 1 poultry processing company in Canada. This new investment in St-Damase and projects elsewhere in the poultry sector, both completed and planned, will also help to consolidate our presence on the markets, while generating important spinoffs for poultry producers," says Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO.

The expansion work, which will begin around May 15, will add 15,000 square feet, bringing its total to over 95,000 square feet.

The plant was completely rebuilt in 1997 after experiencing a major fire. It employs 350 people on two shifts, and supplies Olymel further processing plants, including the plant in nearby Ste-Rosalie.

The expansion is expected to be completed in September, and will not affect the normal conduct of the plant's operations.