Vancouver, BC - Fletcher's Fine Foods Ltd., (Nasdaq: FLCHF, TSE: FFF) announced today that in response to recent developments in the Alberta pork industry, it has implemented a second shift at its Red Deer pork processing plant.
The transition to double shift operations began November 17, and slaughter levels at the plant have increased by 30% to 30,000 hogs per week. Employment has grown during this period to a current total of 520 employees at the plant.
"Recent events in the Alberta pork industry have allowed us to advance our schedule for the expansion of production at our Red Deer plant," stated Fred Knoedler, Fletcher's President and CEO. "The fact that a significant number of Alberta producers have made long term hog supply commitments directly with Fletcher's and through the Western Hog Exchange, has made this step possible."
On September 9, 1997, Fletcher's announced that it had commenced the second and final phase in the expansion of the Red Deer plant. When completed in June of 1998, the project, which has been budgeted at $23.5 million, will result in a globally competitive, state-of-the-art hog processing plant with single shift capacity of 40,000 hogs per week.
"In order to be competitive in domestic and global pork markets, we must have scale efficiencies and the best available hog processing technologies," stated Mr. Knoedler. "The investments we are making in our Red Deer plant will make it one of the largest and most efficient pork processing plants in North America. These initiatives, combined with a productive and cost competitive Alberta labour force, are key elements in the development of our Company, and the Alberta pork industry."
"The pork industry in the Prairie Provinces is booming, and Alberta is at the forefront of these developments. Alberta has all of the necessary ingredients for a growing and prosperous pork industry, and the changes that are occurring today will pave the way for our future development," added Knoedler.
Fletcher's has been engaged in the food processing business since 1917. It has production facilities in Alberta, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.
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