Friday, May 9, 2008

Like The Eveready Battery, It keeps On Losing

Tim Banks says, 'It would probably make more sense to close the plant and pass over the cash losses directly to the farmers as the money would more than likely go a lot farther. Why does every Government think they should be able to run a business cheaper than private enterprise?'
P.E.I. beef plant losses increasing again
Last Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2008
CBC News
The Atlantic Beef Products plant in Albany, P.E.I. lost $550,000 in April, and has lost $3.5 million since last June.
Losses at the plant had been improving. Early last year it was losing $500,000 a month, but by late summer those losses had been cut in half.
The Opposition said it's time the government did something to stop the growing tide of red ink. He was also concerned about beef farmers who are waiting up to six weeks to get paid.
"They have to go out and get a manager and bring somebody in that's capable of running the plant," Progressive Conservative MLA Jim Bagnall told CBC News Wednesday.
"If it means you have to spend a lot of money or whatever then they have to do it, but you can't sit for six months without a manager."
The plant has been without a manager since a restructuring in December. With that restructuring came $12 million from the three Maritime provinces and ACOA to keep the plant going while it found a way to turn a profit.
Bagnall accused government of playing favorites in the agriculture industry. He wondered why the government is willing to support massive losses at the beef plant even after it put P.E.I.'s hog plant into receivership when it was losing far less money.
Bagnall said he wants both sectors supported.
Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair admitted the money provided to the beef plant is being quickly eroded. He said he's meeting Thursday with the advisory group that's running the plant.
"I'm going to be asking for their future outlook for this, where they think it's going to go, if it can be achieved and how long it's going to take," said LeClair.
"We've got to have to look at all those areas we have to take a serious look at where the industry is."
LeClair said he still thinks there's hope to turn the plant around.

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