High Liner to close two facilities


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 2, 2012

Nearly two months after announcing that it is reorganizing its U.S. foodservice sales and marketing teams and introducing a new brand structure, High Liner Foods on Thursday said it is closing two of its six North American processing facilities — Danvers, Mass., and Burin, Newfoundland.

The Nova Scotia-based company said it is consolidating its North American supply chain as a result of overcapacity and the acquisition of the more modern Icelandic facility in Newport News, Va., last December.

More than 300 employees at Danvers and Burin will be laid off. The Danvers plant will remain open until the first quarter of 2013; it employs more than 160 people. The Burin plant is scheduled to close by year’s end; it has 121 full-time employees (13 non-union and 108 union), with 28 “casual” employees and 29 inactive employees on long-term disability.

A small product development office in St. John’s, Newfoundland, will also close at the end of 2012. All commitments made by High Liner to the Newfoundland and Labrador government in 2007 as part of the purchase agreement of Fishery Products International assets will be respected. As part of that commitment, High Liner Foods has invested more than CAD 4 million towards the Burin Employee Life and Health Trust, research and development and other capital expenditures.

“High Liner Foods recognizes that this is a very difficult day for the more than 300 employees, as well as their families, in both communities most of whom will be leaving the High Liner family later this year or early next year as a result of this decision,” said High Liner CEO Henry Demone. “High Liner Foods has grown through three recent acquisitions, and many of High Liner’s plants are operating below capacity. High Liner Foods operates in a very competitive North American market with price-sensitive consumers, and we must be cost-efficient to remain competitive. Despite our growth, the reality is that we only need four North American plants to supply our customers.”

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