Olymel and Groupe Robitaille, both based in Canada, announced plans to invest $80 million in the Yamachiche, Quebec, pork processing plant, in conjunction with the conclusion of the 50-50 partnership in Lucyporc announced in November 2015. This major investment is also part of a reorganization of Olymel operations in the fresh pork sector in Eastern Canada. The project will allow the ATRAHAN plant in Yamachiche to expand and increase its production capacity.

The investment will go toward implementing a second shift in the expanded and reorganized Olymel hog slaughterhouse and deboning facility (ATRAHAN), a project that will be completed within three years. This facility will create ideal conditions for sharing of expertise, maintenance and compliance with product specifications, thus enabling it to satisfy the customer requirements, especially in Japan. In addition, this project will create 350 new jobs, bringing the total to over 1,000.

Specializing in the slaughtering and butchering of hogs, the Yamachiche (ATRAHAN) facility will expand to operate on two shifts, thus doubling its current production volume. The work will include redevelopment of the hog receiving area, expansion of the slaughtering section, cold rooms and the butchering room, storage areas, shipping and service areas, as well as water treatment facilities. Once the work is completed, the plant will be outfitted with the latest equipment, enabling it to meet its customers' rigorous demands, further increase the value of its products and by-products and continue producing superior quality niche products such as Mugifuji and Nagano brand pork, Lucyporc brands and chilled pork. The day shift will be mainly devoted to producing value-added products under the Mugifuji and Nagano brands.

"Over the past year, Olymel has injected more than $150 million into its fresh pork sector in Eastern Canada. These major investments could not have been made without being accompanied by a major reorganization aimed at making our business more competitive vis-a-vis larger competitors on the international scene. An analysis of market developments and partnerships concluded in recent years, including the one with ATRAHAN Transformation Inc., on which we continue to build, and now, the one with Groupe Robitaille in Lucyporc, has led us to develop a new business model designed to adapt to the challenges of today's markets. Today, we are implementing this new manufacturing model in order to put our fresh pork sector in Eastern Canada back on track to long-term profitability, on the one hand, and on the other, to increase its efficiency, while acquiring the means to further improve the quality of our production and ensure the success of value-added products. These changes will also enable us to meet growing market demand, at home as well as in Asia, and will have a positive impact by strengthening the pork industry in Quebec," says Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO ofOlymel L.P.

The expansion and merger of operations is expected to span a period of about 36 months, during which both the Olymel Yamachiche plant and the Lucyporc plant will continue their respective operations.

"What we are announcing today is the fruit of an alliance between two Quebec companies with a shared commitment to sustained growth in Canada as well as worldwide. The partnership between Olymel and Groupe Robitaille in Lucyporc undeniably represents a new business model. With this investment and the planned extensive renovations, we are confident that we will be able to better satisfy our customers' high-quality standards and respond quickly to the growing demand for our products. Moreover, this partnership will give us access to a wide range of resources in order to compete in all markets, offer products of unequaled quality and take advantage of the synergies generated by pooling our expertise and strengths so as position ourselves for the long term and be increasingly responsive to our customers. I feel very strongly that Lucyporc and all its employees will benefit from this alliance, as well as make a significant contribution to the success of this company," adds Claude Robitaille, president of Groupe Robitaille.

This announcement comes on the heels of Olymel ceasing pork butt boning operations at its St-Hyacinthe, Canada, plant.