Agropur to shut Montreal-area ice cream plant

A Quebec ice cream processing plant absorbed in 2017 by Canada’s biggest dairy co-operative will shut its doors in about 10 months’ time.

Agropur Co-operative announced Friday it plans to close the former Les Aliments Lebel plant at Lachute, Que., just northwest of Montreal, in August 2020 and transfer the plant’s operations to other Agropur sites.

The co-op said the plant closure, which is expected to affect 177 employees, is meant to allow Agropur to “optimize its ice cream manufacturing operations,” as it “needs to make the requisite efforts in a highly competitive market.”

The Lachute plant, which makes ice cream and frozen novelties, was run by Les Aliments Lebel until 2015, when that company was taken over by Truro, N.S.-based Scotsburn Co-operative Services. The Lachute plant at the time was Quebec’s largest for making ice cream and frozen desserts.

Agropur in turn bought Scotsburn in early 2017, including its plants at Truro and Lachute and the Scotsburn brand name. That deal was announced in 2016 but was delayed pending approval from the federal Competition Bureau.

After closing that deal, Agropur “made a strategic decision to concentrate its ice cream manufacturing operations at two other Canadian facilities” in Truro and Edmonton, the co-operative said Friday.

Longueuil, Que.-based Agropur said Friday it’s “aware of the impact this decision will have.”

Affected employees, the company said, will be able to take advantage of available programs, such as severance packages employment opportunities at other Agropur sites, and an assistance program for workers and their families. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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