Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Heinz signs deal to save Leamington, Ont., plant


February 27, 2014
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Heinz and Highbury Canco Corporation (HCC), an Ontario-based consortium of investors, have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for HCC to operate the 105-year-old Heinz factory in Leamington, Ont.

Under the terms of the LOI, HCC would assume responsibility for the Heinz Leamington site and transition to manufacturing, co-packing and distribution of certain products in early July. 

This is good news for the tomato capital of Canada, which learned late last year that Heinz planned to close the plant in June, putting almost 800 full-time employees out of work, along with another 500 seasonal workers.

HCC intends to employ approximately 250 employees, plus additional seasonal employees. And, with subsequent investment in the Leamington site, the company plans to provide additional employment opportunities in the future.

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“As a member of this community, I am honoured to be a part of this team who is focused on saving important jobs at the Heinz plant in Leamington. We have a knowledgeable workforce, a vibrant local community, and this is a solid plan for a bright future,” said Sam Diab, HCC member and the current factory manager at the Leamington facility. “We are at a critical stage in this process and are relying on the assistance of our strategic partners to move forward. In the next few weeks, we will be working closely with Heinz, local farmers, UFCW 459, and all three levels of government.”

Michael Mullen, senior vice-president of Corporate and Government Affairs at Heinz, said, “We are delighted that HCC has come forward with this Letter of Intent to run the factory in Leamington, subject to completion of the full transaction. We look forward to working with this experienced and knowledgeable team to build a successful plan, not only to operate the facility but also to increase its potential.”