Maple Leaf Foods refinances $800 million debt

Tue May 17, 2011 8:52am EDT
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Maple Leaf Foods, a leading Canadian pork processor and baker, said on Tuesday that it has refinanced C$800 million ($816 million) in debt, as it moves ahead with an ambitious spending plan.

Maple Leaf said it entered into a new four-year C$800-million revolving credit facility.

The credit facility with a syndicate of Canadian, U.S. and international institutions, replaces another facility due to expire on May 31.

The Toronto-based company last summer announced a strategy to boost earnings and capital spending by closing some meat-processing plants while expanding others as it tries to narrow the gap on more technologically advanced and lower-cost U.S. rivals.

The company expects earnings growth will help pay for C$1.29 billion ($1.3 billion) in capital spending over the next three years, including a big new bakery in Hamilton, Ontario, to open in 2011, and construction starting in 2012 on a prepared-meats plant in an undisclosed location.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel)

<p>A sign for the Maple Leaf food processing plant is seen in Toronto August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>