ST. ESPRIT, Quebec – Olymel plans to expand a hog slaughter and processing facility in the Lanaudière region of Quebec with an investment of C$25 million ($19.5 million). The project is part of the company’s strategy of consolidating its pork operations.

The St. Esprit facility will grow by 35,000 sq. ft. bringing the total area of the facility to 215,000 sq. ft. Upgrades will include a refrigeration room, and production tables will be reorganized to increase production volume of value-added products. Olymel said slaughtering capacity at the plant will increase to 40,000 hogs a week from 30,000 hogs.

Olymel also announced that employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union Local 1991-P have agreed to extend by a collective agreement seven years beyond an expiration date of May 31, 2018.

“This development project at our St. Esprit facility represents a major investment in the hog slaughtering and butchering sectors, and will benefit the entire pork industry in Quebec,” Rejean Nadeau, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Once completed, it will increase our production capabilities significantly and enhance our product offering, in addition to creating new jobs. It will also enable us to better meet the demands of our customers across Canada, as well as worldwide.”

The facility at St. Esprit produces various cuts of pork, seasoned pork products and vacuum-packed items. The plant expansion will add chilled fresh pork capabilities to the facility. Currently, 810 employees work at the plant; the plant expansion will create an additional 200 positions.

In other company news, Olymel and ATRAHAN Transformation Inc., a hog slaughtering and butchering firm in Yamachiche, began integrating their operations. Additionally, Olymel concluded an agreement in principle that forms a partnership in Lucyporc, another Yamachiche-based hog slaughtering and butchering company owned by Groupe Robitaille.

And on June 7, Olymel acquired La Fernandière, Trois-Rivières sausage producer, whose production volume is expected to triple due to an investment of more than C$1.5 million ($1.183 million) and the creation of 30 new jobs.