Montreal-based cheese maker Saputo Inc. announced plans Tuesday to close its milk and cream products plant in Brampton, Ont., by the end of October.

Saputo says about 190 employees will be affected but almost two-thirds of them — 120 people — will be given a chance to relocate within its dairy products division.


Saputo 3-month chart.

At the same time, Saputo announced it will also consolidate all the distribution in the Greater Toronto Area into one warehouse in Vaughan, Ont.

The company is best known for its cheese products but Saputo is also a major milk and dairy supplier and makes the Vachon brand of snack cakes.

In the United States, the company has been squeezed by lower cheese prices, caused in part by rising competition and the impact of the recession on consumer buying.

Saputo has become a major player in the Ontario dairy market after acquisitions including the Neilson's milk business, purchased from George Weston Ltd. in late 2008.

"These decisions are part of the company's continual analysis of its overall activities and the implementation of measures aimed at improving its operational efficiency," Saputo said in a release.

The company said it will cost $4.6 million after taxes to pay for the streamlining moves. It expects annual after tax savings of about $6.5 million from the moves.

With files from The Canadian Press