Atlantic Beef Products in P.E.I. reports record sales
Plant not turning profit yet but 'by far the best year the plant ever had sales-wise'
It was a banner year for Atlantic Beef Products in Albany, P.E.I., and while it's not turning a profit yet, the plant is reporting record sales for the last fiscal year, which ended on March 31.
President Russ Mallard said business grew more than 26 per cent.
"We surpassed $52 million in sales last year, which was by far the best year the plant ever had sales-wise," said Mallard.
"It also meant that we processed over 16 million pounds [7.3 kg] of beef last year as well. And we are very pleased about that."
Mallard said the addition of new products is helping the bottom line, and boosting production is key to future success.
He noted the plant is still a small operation processing 450 to 500 beef animals a week. Some of the big plants in central Canada do up to 4,000 a day, he said.
"We are in a very competitive industry so volume is a very important component of making this plant work efficiently," said Mallard.
"We have recognized that we have had to grow our production volume so that we can produce beef at a rate per kilo that is competitive with some of our major competitors."
Supplier study part of expansion plan
Atlantic Beef Products was part of a study over the last five or six months to determine how big the beef herd really is in the region, and also how to encourage producers to boost their herd numbers.
Mallard said more than 90 per cent of the producers they buy from are from P.E.I. He noted Atlantic Beef Products is working on a plan now to make it easier for producers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to bring in more beef.
As the plant continues to grow its sales base, it hopes to edge closer to making a profit and reduce its overall dependency on funding from the province.
He noted 100 people work full-time there and it is a major contributor to the local economy and to the agriculture sector.
A three-year funding agreement with the province for $8.7 million has just ended. Some of that money was used to make improvements in the facility.
The plant has applied for additional funding from the province but the request is for considerably less than it has been in the past, said Mallard.
Agriculture officials say the province contributed $1.99 million to the plant in 2015-16, $3.3 million in 2014-15 and $3.4 million in 2013-2014.