N.S.-based High Liner to downsize Mass. seafood plant

LUNENBURG, N.S. -- High Liner Foods Inc. (TSX:HLF) is ceasing some of its operations at an underused seafood plant in New Bedford, Mass.

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, in a move that affects about 200 jobs.

The plant's value-added fish operation, which will end operations by September, has 35 salaried employees and 167 hourly workers. The scallop portion of that operation, which will continue to operate, has an additional 25 employees.

The Nova Scotia-based company says its Lunenberg plant, and two other plants in the United States, have sufficient capacity to make up for the lost output at New Bedford, about 100 kilometres south of Boston.

"In 2015, we made good progress . . . and sufficiently increased capacity at our Lunenburg, Portsmouth and Newport News facilities such that they are able, collectively, to absorb the production of our New Bedford facility and still provide sufficient capacity to meet our growth objectives going forward," said Keith Decker, High Liner's CEO and president.

The company, which reports in U.S. currency, estimates the move will reduce annualized operating costs by about US$7 million. It expects to recognize $5 million of one-time costs, including the impact on employees and inventories.

High Liner also announced Wednesday that sales for its 2015-16 financial year totalled $1 billion, about $50 million less than the prior year. For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, sales were down about $22 million at US $224.9 million.

Net income for the year was $29.6 million, including $7 million or 23 cents per share in the fourth quarter. Adjusted net income for the year was $35.6 million, including $8.1 million or 26 cents per share in the fourth quarter.


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