YAMACHICHE, Quebec – Olymel LP announced plans to increase production at the company’s ATRAHAN hog slaughtering and processing plant in Yamachiche at a cost of C$80 million.

Olymel will double processing capacity at the ATRAHAN plant by adding a second line and production shift. The project includes redevelopment of the hog receiving area and expansion of the slaughtering section, cold rooms and the butchering room, storage areas, shipping and service areas as well as water treatment facilities. Niche products processed at the plant include chilled pork, Mugifuji pork and Nagano pork and featured Lucyporc brands as part of a partnership with Groupe Robitaille which has a 50 percent stake in Lucyporc. The ATRAHAN plant expansion is expected to be complete within three years.

The company said the ATRAHAN plant will be outfitted with the latest equipment thus enabling Olymel to meet customers’ product specifications while raising the value of its products and by-products. The day shift will be devoted to producing value-added products under the Mugifuji and Nagano brands in full compliance with Lucyporc specifications for these products, according to Olymel.

“Over the past year Olymel has injected more than C$150 million into its fresh pork sector in Eastern Canada,” Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO of Olymel, said in a statement. “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.”

Nadeau added that the new manufacturing model will increase processing efficiency, while improving the quality of production. The reorganization also enables Olymel and its partners to meet growing market demand in Canada and in Asia. The expansion and merger of ATRAHAN and Lucyporc operations is expected to take 36 months, during which the ATRAHAN facility in Yamachiche 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,” said Claude Robitaille, president of Groupe Robitaille. “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 to 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,” Robitaille added.

Olymel and Groupe Robitaille are in talks with union representatives of workers at Olymel’s ATRAHAN facility as well as those at Lucyporc, both groups being members of UFCW Local 1991-P. In addition to the 360 Olymel employees at the ATRAHAN facility and 430 employees of Lucyporc, the expansion project will create 350 new jobs, bringing the number of workers to more than 1,000.