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Saputo CEO Lino Saputo Jr.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Canadian cheese giant Saputo Inc. says it will close a cheese manufacturing facility in Warwick, Que., next year, affecting 100 workers as it seeks to cut costs and improve its operational efficiency.

The Montreal-based company said Thursday that production will be shifted from the plant acquired in 2005 to other facilities in the province after the plant is closed in June, 2014.

Some employees will be able to transfer to other plants.

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Saputo said it has cut costs over the last year while strengthening its market presence. In November, it announced plans to close a facility in Winkler, Man., next January, affecting 40 workers.

The company said it plans to add about $36-million in new equipment in other facilities next year.

The two plant closings will cost about $7-million after taxes, including a $4-million writedown. Annual after-tax savings of $6-million are expected to begin in fiscal 2015.

Saputo spent $52.9-million in 2005 to purchase the manufacturing, marketing and distribution activities of Fromage Côté SA and Distributions Kingsey Inc., which made cheddar, Swiss and other specialty cheeses in Warwick and Plessisville, Que. The company also had a cheese aging facility and a cutting-distribution centre.

The Canadian plant closings come a few weeks after Saputo said its nearly seven-year European venture will come to an end with the shutting of cheese processing plants in Wales and Germany.

Saputo is Canada's largest dairy processor and the 12th biggest in the world. It also produces several brands of snack cakes.

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